About IES


This document, being a living collection of concise information bites, shall step-by-step outline the idea, background, objectives, achievements and potential impact of the IES project. It shall establish and foster a joint view on the project's grounds, and support project marketing in presenting the project's intentions and potential benefits to national and international contacts and stakeholders.

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Project basics

The project is part of the e!MISSON program's 2nd call funded via the Austrian Climate and Energy Fund (KLIEN), managed by the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG) under contract number 853693. The consortium is run by Dr. Angela Berger from Technology Platform Smart Grids Austria.

Project name              Integrating the Energy System Austria (IES)
Project office              Technology Platform Smart Grids Austria, 1060 Wien, Mariahilferstr. 37-39, Austria
Project duration         01.03.2016 - 28.02.2019   
Project homepage     www.iesaustria.at

Project partner

Powered by the Climate & Energy Fund within the framework of the programme Energy Research 2015.

IES at a glance

The IES-approach

IES strives to adapt and implement a vendor-neutral and cooperative method to achieve interoperability of ICT-systems in smart energy systems (see Fig. 1). It is based on an existing method from ICT in healthcare (see --> IHE), where interoperability of systems has long been achieved.

Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE) is a global non-profit organisation that engages actors in the health system to achieve interoperability of ICT-systems in healthcare. IHE developed a fair, cooperative and participatory method to engage vendors, manufacturers and users alike. The modular, well-defined process starts with the definition of use cases, followed by cooperatively developing “interoperability profiles” which select, optimise and specify the normalised use of existing technology standards that address the well-defined use cases. These profiles assemble specific “base standards” which together provide complete technical specifications that cover all interoperability issues (e.g. data formats, transport protocols, semantics and security methods).


By initiating a cross-sector knowledge exchange, the IES team draws from years of IHE-experience and know-how in the health system. As a project result, IES develops a manual and guidelines for the practical implementation of the adapted process as well as a software tool for interoperability testing. The project team designs and demonstrates a modular four-step process chain for data exchanges in the energy sector:

  1.  Definition of real world use cases
  1. Generation of interoperability profiles to define and specify the normative use of existing standards to realise the selected use cases
  1. Implementation of interoperability profiles in software solutions
  1. Vendor-neutral testing for interoperability and publication of the results


 Fig. 1: The IES process for ensuring interoperability in the energy system at a glance

(based on IHE process, available at www.ihe.net)

The transparency of the processes and the open source platform used for technical specifications and profile development will be accessible by technology providers of interoperable products and services. Using this process helps foster investment protection and grow markets with increased competition for product innovation, quality and security.

Political motivation

IES builds on the well-established IHE-approach based on ISO/TR 28380 as well as the standards of the European standardisation organisations CEN-CENELEC-ETSI and the Smart Grid Architecture Model (SGAM) developed by the Smart Grid Coordination Group in the course of smart grid mandate 490.


Fig. 2 : Image by the author, created from the source of EU-COM, ICT Standardisation Priorities for the Digital Single Market, available at: https://ec.europa.eu/digital-single-market/en/news/communication-ict-standardisation-priorities-digital-single-market

The objectives of the IES-project are in line with the targets of the European Commission and its Europe 2020 strategy to create a cross-sector and cross-border Digital Single Market. The “European Interoperability Framework (EIF) for European public services” recommends formalised cooperation arrangements in interoperability agreements addressing legal, organisational, semantic and technical interoperability. Both the IHE process and the TOGAF-based EIF process represent a proper way to assess and test for interoperability of sector-independent ICT solutions.

Environmental motivation

Changing a reliable system

The electrical power grid has evolved over centuries into a hierarchic infrastructure from rather centralized energy production and exchange down to the distribution via different voltage levels towards customers. A liberal energy market and distributed regenerative energy production challenge the established grid management. Smart Grids shall provide the means to smoothly integrate decentralized energy production and effectively improve flexibility, distribution efficiency and grid reliability. All this requires vivid communication among subsystems.

Interoperability is thus essential for the transition to Smart Grids and also contributes to the investment protection for operators and manufacturers. A normalized use of technical standards for interfaces and communication protocols is a central requirement for cost-effective systems integration. However, a seamless integration in legacy systems is equally important because the transition occurs gradually as new components and services are deployed step-by-step.

  • no energy transition toward distributed renewable sources without Smart Grids

  • no Smart Grids can evolve and flourish without interoperability

  • no assured interoperability with flexible standards

Goals of the IES Project

Securing Interoperability

Interoperability is essential for the success of the energy transition and contributes to the investment protection for users as well as manufacturers and vendors. A normalized use of technical standards for interfaces and communication protocols is the central requirement for cost-effective system integration. All-over interoperability in the Smart Grid is highly important as the transition takes place gradually and new components must be integrated into an existing system.

Therefore, the focus of the IES project is to adapt and implement an existing, vendor-neutral and cooperative method to achieve interoperability within smart grids. The intention is not to define new standards, in contrary, established good practice shall be documented and made available such that vendors can base their designs thereon and run identical system integration tests.

IES project targets

  • Implement a proven methodology for achieving interoperability of data exchanges in the energy system
  • Select exemplary use cases to validate the interoperability process developed for the energy sector
  • Build an open source test platform to assess the interoperability of smart grid components in respect to specific use cases
  • Design integration profiles as reusable digital interoperability building blocks
  • Increase stakeholders’ awareness of competitive advantages of interoperable solutions in smart grid development
  • Make the methodology available for further use in all EU-supported smart grid projects


The Greater Vision: A European Initiative "IES Europe"

IES strives to set up a joint transnational structure for a European initiative based on the model of the healthcare sector. In collaboration with partners from other European countries the initiative IES Europe pursues, among others, the following objectives:

- IES Process

Deployment of an annually recurring process that brings together vendors and users of smart energy system technologies to ensure interoperability.

- European Organisation

Setup of a transnational organisational structure to coordinate the operative work throughout the IES process and organise the interoperability test events.

- Connectathon Energy

Hosting of annual European interoperability test events, where users and vendors of interoperable


Technological background

As a basis, the project utilises the CEN-CENELEC-ETSI Smart Grid Coordination Group (SGCG) and SGAM from Smart Grids Mandate M/490 standards and applies the well-established Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE, ISO/TR 28380) approach for interoperability. IHE established a process for cooperatively developing “interoperability profiles” to address well defined use cases. These profiles assemble specific “base standards” which together provide complete technical specifications that cover all interoperability issues (e.g. data formats, transport protocols, vocabularies, security methods). In the EU Commission Decision 2015/1302 the IHE-profiles were released for public procurement.

In its “European Interoperability Framework (EIF) for European public services”, the European Commission recommends “formalised cooperation arrangements in interoperability agreements”, addressing legal, organisational, semantic and technical interoperability. The IHE and EIF processes (TOGAF-based architectural development provide a valid method to assess and test for interoperability of sector-independent ICT solutions.

Within the SGAM scope (Mandate M490/SGAM), interoperability was also declared a highly important issue. Thus, cross-sectoral knowledge exchange between the project partners with regard to the development of interoperability profiles and the test requirements represents this project's main innovation.

Publication Database


Frohner, M., Gottschalk, M., Franzl, G., Pasteka, R., Uslar, M., Sauermann, S., Smart Grid Interoperability Profiles Development.  IEEE International Conference on Smart Grid Communications; Dresden, 10 / 2017.

Franzl, G., Gottschalk, M., Frohner, M., Reif, V., Koch, G., Berger, A., Interoperabilität im Datenaustausch in der Energiewirtschaft. Vom Use Case zum Test der Integrationsprofile. 15. Symposium Energieinnovation; TU Graz, 02 / 2018.

Reif, V., Berger, A., Frohner, M., Sauermann, S., IES Prozess - Entwicklung von Integrationsprofilen und Durchführung von Interoperabilitätstests basierend auf IHE-Methodik. Verfügbar unter https://www.klimafonds.gv.at/assets/Uploads/Science-Brunch-Broschuere-Smart-Grids-2018.pdf.

Berger, A., Reif, V., Vernetzte Netze - Wie Smart Grids nathlos zusammenwachsen. Verfügbar unter https://www.feei.at/sites/default/files/publikation/190617_feei_jahresbericht2016_17_2_finales_dok.pdf.



IES Webinar available at https://www.etip-snet.eu/events/etipsnet-webinars/



28. Mai 2017, 10:54
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