AIT SmartEST (Smart Electricity Systems and Technologies) Laboratory

Austria,  Switzerland 


To mitigate climate change, the global energy system must undergo a profound transformation, embrace renewable energy and enhance efficiency. The shift away from baseload power toward decentralized and intermittent generation means that the electricity system becomes more multidirectional, integrated and complex. This requires innovative infrastructure and system management technologies. Smart grids must be able to deal with reliability and interoperability issues.  Testing and validation infrastructure is needed for robust analysis of new technologies before their broad application in the field.


The AIT SmartEST Laboratory provides a unique research and testing infrastructure for smart energy networks of the future. It offers an ideal experimental environment to researchers, grid operators, and manufacturers of components and solutions for electric power systems. The facility features three configurable laboratory networks that can be operated up to 1000 kVA, with programmable AC and DC sources and sinks. Interactions between devices undergoing testing (such as photovoltaic inverters, energy storage systems, smart substations, smart meters) and the electrical grid can be analysed at the laboratory and monitored in extreme detail. With this, the laboratory is also a key infrastructure for design and validation of control strategies, automation concepts, and communication approaches.


AIT SmartEST Laboratory supports major research and industrial activities and projects on national and international levels in the evaluation and testing of smart grid concepts, solutions and products. In particular, virtualisation and Hardware in the Loop (HIL) methods enable clean energy system manufacturers to shorten development time and market introduction of innovative products needed for the integration of renewable power into the electrical grid.


This unique research and testing infrastructure in central Europe allows a comprehensive analysis and testing of key future concepts such as 100% renewable electricity supply, low inertia grids, coupled DC and AC distribution infrastructures or ultra-high power electric vehicle charging. It significantly contributes to the development of new products and solutions in these areas by profound analysis in a near real-world environment before installing them in the field. It avoids expensive and time-consuming demonstrations and field tests. New policies for the promotion of renewable energy sources and decarbonisation will also maximise the impact of the AIT SmartEST facility.