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Project Summary

With the advent of smart grids, new, secure and scalable solutions for energy management are needed. Demand response, which is defined as changes in electricity usage by consumers from their normal consumption patterns in response to signals from grid operations and the energy markets, is a viable and cost-efficient solution to improve energy efficiency and for reducing peak demand. However, automated demand response programs for residential households are scarce in Europe despite the fact that households represented approximately 27% of the total energy consumption in 2010.

The consortium behind the SEMIAH project has developed a novel and scalable ICT infrastructure for the implementation of demand response in households. The SEMIAH infrastructure enables the shifting of energy consumption away from periods of high peak periods towards periods with high generation of electricity from renewable energy sources (RESs).

The SEMIAH concept enables aggregation of flexible consumption from households connected to the system. It acts through direct load control to remotely shift or curtail electrical loads in a secure manner taking into account the privacy and flexibility of users. The key scientific and technological contributions of the SEMIAH project can be summarized as follows:

  1. Specifications: The effort of SEMIAH project will be mainly related to the external actors (e.g. energy services provider and the aggregator), which interact with the system functions and components in the home or home automation network through the energy management communication channel.
  2. Front-end design: A front-end system that encompass a home energy management gateway (HEMG) to control customer’s loads based on the Open Gateway Energy Management Alliance (OGEMA) framework. The open framework promotes an environment for the deployment of smart grid services for households. The HEMG interacts with sensors, actuators, meters and servers for smart home internetworking.
  3. Back-end design: A back-end system consisting of a central virtual power plant (VPP), which manages and controls information from the households connected to the system network. The infrastructure provides a set of intelligent services for energy management of households including flexibility forecasting, load aggregation, and load scheduling.
  4. User interface: A web-based user interface that allows the consumer, the Aggregator, and the Distribution System Operator (DSO) to visualize and configure system settings.
  5. Simulation and demonstration: A large quantity of households must be aggregated to provide a demand response of significance to the grid operation. SEMIAH has developed a simulator that scales to more than 200 000 households. It provides a tool for external actors to design their demand response programs. Furthermore, the SEMIAH infrastructure and concept has been validated against two demonstration sites with about 200 households in Norway and Switzerland.
  6. Security and Privacy: SEMIAH has taken a multifaceted approach to threat modelling and start by enumerating important factors including system elements, valuables, attacker types and motivations, possible attacks, and potential attack points. The security features was tested in a security demonstrator that allows security testing and intrusion detection for the HEMG. Privacy by design is ensured by using informed consent for participating in the demonstration as well as by anonymising sensor data from the customers.
  7. Business models: A set of novel business models have been investigated to determine the economic viability of demand response that provides customers with incentives to offer flexibility in their energy consumption that will lead to a more secure and sustainable energy supply.


The SEMIAH project has pursued a major technological, scientific and commercial breakthrough by developing an Information and Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure for the implementation of demand response (DR) in residential households within the smart grid environment. This infrastructure shall enable scheduling of selected high energy-consuming domestic loads’ operation to off-peak demand periods for reducing the peak demand on the power grid network. The project’s innovative approach is based on the development of an open ICT framework that will promote an environment for the deployment and innovation of smart grid services in households for load management.

The project partners have developed a centralised system for provisioning of demand response services based on aggregation, forecasting, and scheduling of electricity consumption in the domestic sector. The SEMIAH concept enables aggregation of households connected to the system and will act through direct load control to shift or curtail electrical loads considering the flexibilities of the prosumers and the utility demand limits. The project delivers a hardware solution that enables control of selected electrical load operation based on demand limits considering the renewable energy generation. The solution consists of a number of smart plugs that can be controlled over a Home Area Network (HAN) through a gateway connected to a wide area network (WAN). The SEMIAH consortium integrates security and privacy functions to ensure that the system cannot be compromised.

To successfully implement SEMIAH, the project consortium has studied new business models for electricity players and residential customers to quantify costs and benefits for actors in the value chain. SEMIAH shall contribute to the benefit of residential customers, energy utilities, and the society in general through lowering electricity bills, and providing higher stability of the electricity grid. Hereby, the project will enable savings in CO2 emissions and fuel costs, as well as reducing investments in electricity network expansions and electricity peak generation plants.

To achieve project objectives and the projected impacts, a strong and determined consortium has been formed around the technological skills and competencies needed to overcome the identified challenges. The team of twelve partners from four European countries, coming from ICT (AU, CSEM, UIA and HES-SO), Energy (FRAUNHOFER, AEnergi, SEIC, ENALP, MIS and DEVELCO) and Telecommunications (EGDE and NETPLUS), jointly possess excellence in skills and requirements needed to drive this ambitious project to successful result. Nevertheless, the competencies of the consortium partners are not exclusively linked to ICT, Energy or Telecom, as they hold multi-disciplinary expertise and capabilities in these sectors.

The project objectives of SEMIAH can be summarized as follows:

Project Objective 1

To define the technical and functional specifications for establishing the overall design of the HEMS. The specific objectives are:

  • Specification and formulation of requirement specifications for the overall system architecture
  • Specification of demand response Infrastructure (HEMG and backbone aggregator infrastructure);
  • Specification and design of interfaces;
  • Development of verification and validation plan to be followed during the entire project to ensure that high quality standards are achieved in every development step.

Project Objective 2

To develop an open ICT infrastructure and architecture for implementation of a demand response function in households and also to bring together many services intended for smart grids. The specific objectives are:

  • Development of an open ICT architecture for the deployment and operation of smart grid services and of its key interfaces;
  • Development of a front-end platform for smart grid services (energy management gateway) based on the OGEMA framework/platform;
  • Definition of object models for selected electrical loads and of relevant smart grid concepts;
  • Development of a demand response application (front-end and back-end systems).

Project Objective 3

To develop the SEMIAH system aggregator intelligence for managing scheduling of selected electrical loads in households.  The specific objectives are:

  • Development of aggregation, forecasting and scheduling algorithms capable of managing at least 200 000 households;
  • Integration and verification of backend system to ensure 24/7 operation;
  • Development of a large-scale simulator to emulate the behaviour of thousands of households.

Project Objective 4

To integrate the backend and front-end systems, including the infrastructure as needed, and to perform a basic integration test to verify that all interfaces are operating as expected.

Project Objective 5

Pilot testing and validation of SEMIAH in the real end-user environment. The specific objectives are:

  • Testing of SEMIAH in 100 households in Norway and 100 in Switzerland to compare different consumer behaviour patterns and electricity supply conditions;
  • Assessment of the impact of local production as well as demand side management on the stability of the low and medium voltage grid and determine the extent of the observability of this production on different sites in the low voltage grid;
  • Large-scale simulation of SEMIAH with 200 000 households to determine the potential performance of the system and potential large-scale impact.

Project Objective 6

To ensure that security and privacy issues are effectively built-in in all elements of SEMIAH from the beginning. The specific objectives are:

  • Identify necessary privacy and security requirements to ensure safe and secure operation with only leakage of necessary personally identifiable information, e.g. for billing purposes;
  • Ensure that these privacy and security requirements are being designed into the technical solutions from the start;
  • Implement the privacy and security objectives and propose supporting security management processes for identifying and mitigating privacy and security risks;
  • Verify that the implemented privacy and security controls work as expected in the system demonstrators, and demonstrate being able to detect and mitigate system weaknesses and attacks on the system.

Project Objective 7

To develop new business models for the implementation of demand response in households (considered in WP9). The specific objectives are:

  • Identification of the potential for the economic valuation of the flexibility of household loads and the corresponding markets and business partners;
  • Estimation of the overall financial benefits based on today’s and future market prices;
  • Development of economically feasible business cases and derivation of appropriate business models.