The increased digitalisation of the power grid comes with its own set of cyber threats and risks. In TU Delft’s Control Room of the Future (CRoF) the power grid gets put through its paces. This remarkable research facility offers both industry and academics unique opportunities to research, develop and test the integration of new energy management technologies into the smart grid. So the CRoF is actually a testbed for dealing with all kinds of disruptions, including cyberattacks. Its ultimate goal? A power grid that is intelligent, resilient and cyber secure.

The rapid transition to renewable energy threatens to cause major problems to the electricity grid in the Netherlands. This means that research is required. A great deal of research. For example, will the Dutch grid be capable of withstanding a new wind farm off the coast of Zandvoort? How will we keep everything stable when, in the near future, millions of solar panels have been installed by individual house owners? And how can we ensure that everyone will be able to charge their electric vehicles in the future? Using a digital twin of the Dutch electricity network, we can test all kinds of scenarios, explains Alex Stefanov, technical director and mastermind behind the CRoF. ‘In our control room, new operational technologies are also being tested here, ranging from e.g. innovative energy management systems created at the university itself to hard- and software solutions developed at industrial partners. As we are able to simulate the power grid in real time, we can connect prototypes to the grid and see how they perform under real-life circumstances to balance generation with consumption in real time.’