DISCERN - Distributed Intelligence for Cost-Effective and Reliable Distribution Network Operation

  • Dates: February 2013 – May 2016
  • Leader: RWE
  • Grant agreement number: 308913
  • Funded by



As the patterns of power generation and distribution are rapidly changing in Europe towards a highly dispersed and volatile system, Distribution System Operators need to completely change traditional ways of grid operations. Currently developed solutions to increase the intelligence of medium and low voltage grids to cope with this task are often highly specialized, non-replicable and therefore not cost-effective.

It is therefore the aim of this project to assess the optimal level of intelligence in the distribution network and to determine the replicable technological options that will allow a cost-effective and reliable enhancement of observability and controllability of the future distribution networks in Europe.

DISCERN will build on five demonstration projects operated by major European DSOs. The involved demonstration sites unite a variety of technological approaches addressing different challenges. They hereby constitute the main resource of DISCERN.

In addition, DISCERN will liaise with other EEGI smart grid innovation projects in Europe in a series of workshops and leverage on their results.

Based on comparative assessment, guided by a set of Key Performance Indicators, of technological options, solutions and operational processes, the project will define recommendations on replicable solutions. Moreover, DISCERN will demonstrate innovative solutions in field tests and simulations.

As a result, DISCERN will enable DSOs to more rationally manage their networks and to plan their extension thereby facilitating the large scale introduction of renewable generation necessary for the transformation of the energy system.


The main objective of DISCERN is the enhancement of European distribution grids with technical and organisational solutions for the optimal level of smart grid intelligence. To achieve this, DISCERN has settled the following specific objectives:

  • Establish a family of demonstration projects focused on the MV/LV network and develop an assessment framework based on KPIs that allows the comparison of technical solutions for monitoring and controlling the distribution network
  • Identify, assess and compare the technological options for monitoring and control systems in the distribution network
  • Develop recommendations for the cost-effective application of advanced distributed sensors, monitoring and control systems to increase the intelligence of electricity distribution networks based on KPIs
  • Test and validate optimal technological solutions by means of real time simulations and small scale field tests
  • Facilitate the knowledge exchange with innovative European projects testing various smart grid functionalities in the area of network operation, monitoring and control.
  • Map relevant standards and contribute to standardization activities.


CIRCE will lead the technical evaluation and replication work, playing a neutral role within the project to assess the optimal solution for the distributed intelligence in smart grids, which DISCERN deals with. CIRCE will be in charge of developing the models of the demo sites and simulate the proposed solutions in order to assess the optimal one for the demo sites.

Besides, CIRCE will have an active participation in the elaboration of a semantic model as well as a guide to transfer the developed solutions within DISCERN to DSOs, and will contribute to the dissemination of the project results.


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