AEM’s role in DATA CELLAR Project for sustainable and innovative energy solutions


Azienda Elettrica di Massagno (AEM) is a local electric utility producing power in their own hydroelectric and photovoltaic facilities, managing, namely operating and maintaining, the medium and low voltage grid and supplying power to 10,000 end-users in the wider region of Massagno, in southern Switzerland.

AEM is the company of the territory, for the territory, combining innovation and tradition. Innovation in that it experiments, in cooperation with universities and technology producers, with digital solutions that anticipate the electricity market of the future, making users participate in its benefits. Tradition, because it remains a company focused on the service and in close contact with local users and institutions.

Since 2017, AEM has made significant investments to coverage 100% of the overall district with smart meters for the remote reading of its customers’ electricity consumption. AEM is committed to introducing pragmatic instruments to address the new market framework, upgrading its distribution activities into a “smart grid”, and clustering its customers into self-sustaining consumption communities. AEM also developed a broad band grid, allowing the consumption data of each user to be downloaded with high frequency to a central unit, where also the data of the hydropower plant flexibility, the interconnection gate to the HV grid, the weather condition data are collected. This data is processed by an algorithm, based on artificial intelligence, which will be able:

  • to keep a predefined “load profile” at the HV gate acting on the offers and on the demand flexibility,
  • to allocate as best power on the different grid portions, avoiding congestions, and
  • to control and manage the voltage levels on the LV grid.

Which is the role of AEM in DATA CELLAR?

AEM brings two validation cases (VCs) to the DATA CELLAR project: the Arena Innovation Community (AIC) in the village of Capriasca, which is a suburban site, and the urban residential district of Via Motta in Massagno.

The AIC consists of a residential area with 11 family houses, a large public pool, the football field building with several office spaces, and a district heating plant. The community can rely on two solar photovoltaic systems already operational with 30 kWp and 25 kWp respectively and an 83 kWp photovoltaic plant. The wood-powered district heating facility produces yearly 2,300 MWh of energy with a power of 550 kWp and is readily connected to the public pool, the football field building, and 3 residential buildings (among other buildings outside the self-consumption community). A charging infrastructure for electric vehicles is also part of the energy community.

The residential district of Via Motta in Massagno includes mainly residential buildings (two offices are also included) plus a care home. The building stock are multi-family buildings with multiple floors and typical two-store family houses, hosting approximately 70 residents. Via Motta local distribution network is served by a 630 kVA substation which is in the middle of the neighbourhood. Electricity is locally produced by a solar photovoltaic plant with a total installed capacity of 60 kWp, located on the roof of the elderly care home. Similar to AIC, a V2G-ready EV charging station is also part of the energy community providing a car sharing service.

AEM’s goal is to understand how to develop and operate new business models and digital services (e.g., HaaS, BaaS, V2G) based on data-driven analyses. While AEM has considerable amount of data, the key will be to manipulate and compare it with an energy perspective in order to extract valuable information. Moreover, tools facilitating the operation of new energy services would be interesting.

Why is AEM important for the DATA CELLAR project?

The main contribution of AEM to the DATA CELLAR project will be the provision of the facilities: customers, existing smart grid with broadband communication, central unit with real-time metering and affiliated data, several operating energy communities. Further to the provision of AEM’s pilot site for the project solution deployment and validation, AEM will also act as a coordinator of the activities in the pilot site and as a link providing boundary condition information on local level as well as adapting the project framework to pilot site specificities.


Read all the Validation Cases here.