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Reactive Technologies Finland Oy: Developing internationally patented electricity network monitoring technology in Oulu

Reactive Technologies is a technology company that aims to solve the challenges posed by renewable energy by developing new digital technology solutions for the energy sector. Reactive Technologies provides unique measurement and analytics services to grid operators, as well as a smart power generation model to renewable energy producers. Sysart has assisted Reactive’s Oulu-based R&D team in designing software architecture and cloud migrations.

What is real-time inertia monitoring?

Reactive Technologies has implemented pioneering services for the energy industry by addressing the global challenges posed by renewable energy sources in terms of transmission networks and solar and wind energy production. Energy cannot be stored on a large scale with current technology, so demand and production must remain in balance. Inertia resists change in the electricity network and stabilises both the balance and the frequency of the network in the event of changes in electricity production (for example, in the event of a sudden failure of a production plant, causing it to drop out of the network). Renewable energy (wind and electric power plants) is also discontinuous in nature, which adds to the challenge of balancing the grid.

The share of renewable energy in electricity production is growing with each year, but the production forms of wind and solar energy, for example, contain virtually no inertia at all. As the use of renewable energy increases, therefore, the total inertia of the electricity grid decreases. This, in turn, significantly impairs the network’s ability to cope with rapid changes in production – especially when in the past it has not been possible to measure the inertia of the network, so different forecasting models have been used for electricity generation and purchases. As a result, the functionality of the electricity network has had to be proactively safeguarded by means of fossil energy sources.

The development of new measurement methods reduces the risks by enabling electricity production to be kept at a more optimal level through more accurate monitoring and making it possible to react to changes more quickly if necessary. The first to introduce the new technology will be National Grid ESO in the UK, which aims to achieve zero carbon-based emissions by 2025.

Moving from a data centre service to the cloud brings scalability

According to Mikko Airamaa, Technical Architect at Sysart, the development project with Reactive was extremely interesting in terms of both the client’s business area and the technologies chosen for use. “My own role has been to act as the architect and developer in the migration project, which has involved moving one of the client’s products from a more traditional data centre service to a more modern environment. In addition to the migration, I have helped out with formulating the cloud strategy, selecting the technologies and tools, and generally assisting in the introduction of modern application development methodologies, such as DevOps protocols and publication automation – and of course, with the implementation itself.”

The main goal of the project has been to enable good scalability and reproducibility for the service. In addition, the project will serve as a pilot for the modernisation of the runtime environments of the client’s other products running in data centre services. The project has also sought to focus development work on the core business by moving support and equipment software towards Managed Services. This will allow the time previously used for maintenance and configuration to be used for product development in the future.

Customers of Reactive Technologies benefit from accelerated service deployment

“Before we started this project, the provisioning of new infrastructure and servers was very labour intensive and required the skills and time resources that only a few experts had. Now, the runtime environment of the pilot application can be set up quickly, automatically and in a controlled manner. In this way, development and testing can be carried out fully on an assembly that corresponds to production if necessary, and when the infrastructure is no longer needed, it can in turn be run down quickly. Correspondingly, the implementation of the system is fast and reliable also for new customers. In addition to reproducibility and scalability, automation upgrades enable faster version releases, allowing end customers to access application updates faster than before,” says Airamaa, describing the benefits of the solution.

“Working with Sysart has been uncomplicated and confidence-inspiring in both the design and implementation phases. I can recommend Sysart as a systems development partner regardless of the cloud platform, as their work ethic, internal communication and efficiency combined with their technological expertise are a good investment towards increasing the productivity of any technology company,” says Toni Mäki, Chief Cloud Architect, Reactive Technologies Finland Oy.

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