Advanced Grid Modeling

Advanced Grid Modeling

This piece was originally published in the November 2017 issue of electroindustry.

Ali Ghassemian, PhD, Program Manager, U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Modeling Grid Research Program and Brian Marchionini, PMP, Senior Program Manager, NEMA

Dr. Ghassemian’s has extensive knowledge in the areas of big data analytics, modeling, and simulation.   Mr. Marchionini oversees NEMA technical work on energy storage, distribution automation, and microgrids.

The electrical power industry has undergone extensive changes over the past several decades and become substantially more complex, dynamic, and reliable as new market rules, regulatory policies, and technologies have been adopted.

As the electricity delivery system continues to evolve, the availability of more detailed data about system conditions from devices such as phasor measurement units (PMUs) used for wide-area visibility and advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) used for dynamic pricing and demand response will help improve the system’s reliability and flexibility.

Working with the large volume and variety of data to make it more relevant and actionable to grid operators and utilities, however, poses significant challenges. Continuing to shift operational data analytics from a traditionally offline environment to expanded real-time situational awareness of grid conditions and faster, measurement-based control will require significant advancements in algorithms and computational approaches.

Advanced Modeling Grid Research

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability (OE) is undertaking activities to accelerate discovery and innovation in transmission and distribution technologies and create next-generation devices, software, tools, and techniques to modernize the electrical grid. Projects are coordinated with partners from other federal programs; electric utilities; equipment manufacturers; regional, state, and local agencies; national laboratories; and universities. Coordination is critical to focusing federal efforts and ensuring that projects are properly aligned with public, private, local, and national needs.

OE provides national leadership to ensure that the nation’s energy delivery system is secure, resilient, and reliable and provides input on federal and state electricity policies and programs that shape system planning and market operations. Not only does OE bolster the resiliency of the electrical grid and assist with restoration when major energy supply interruptions occur, but it also develops new technologies to improve the infrastructure that brings electricity into our homes, offices, and factories.

Through its Advanced Modeling Grid Research Program, OE is supporting:

  • transformation of data to enable preventative actions rather than reactive responses to changes in grid conditions;
  • research and development of advanced computational and control technologies to improve the reliability, resiliency, security, and flexibility of the nation’s electricity system;
  • system operators and utilities to help prevent blackouts and improve reliability by expanding wide-area real-time visibility into the conditions of the grid;
  • improvement of the performance of modeling tools and computations that are the basis of grid operations and planning; and
  • tracking and expanding the use of quantitative risk and uncertainty methods by federal- and state-level energy system decision-makers regarding energy infrastructure investments.

To achieve these objectives, OE’s Advanced Modeling Grid Research Program is furthering work in three main areas: data management and analytics, mathematical methods and computations, and models and simulations.

Data management and analytics activities focus on the way data is collected, used, stored, and archived to improve applicability of large, multisource datasets for real-time operations and offline planning studies. Efforts to address emerging mathematical and computational challenges arising in power systems are resulting in new algorithms and software libraries. Research on a new class of fast, high-fidelity capabilities that underpin better grid operations and planning in large-scale, dynamic, and stochastic environments will be aided by models and simulations.

Building and maintaining effective public–private partnerships is vital. In achieving this vision, OE is fostering strategic, university-based power system research capabilities. Such partnerships facilitate additional research and development and enable industry (and ultimately, consumers) to capitalize on the benefits of making this wealth of data more accessible and actionable.

OE provides national leadership to ensure that the nation’s energy delivery system is secure, resilient, and reliable and provides input on federal and state electricity policies and programs that shape system planning and market operations. Not only does OE bolster the resiliency of the electrical grid and assist with restoration when major energy supply interruptions occur, but it also develops new technologies to improve the infrastructure that brings electricity into our homes, offices, and factories.

NEMA’s 2018 Strategic Initiatives includes a Webinar Series on the Internet of Things Trends that will cover the role of big data analytics in grid modernization as well as other topics.


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