We have all seen good conceptual drawings showing the integration of renewables onto the grid in coordination with complex grid-edge technologies such as electric vehicles and demand response. But how are utility personnel actually going to take into account all of the potential variations involved and develop reliable, real-world solutions?
I am reminded of my math professor in engineering school who insisted that “A picture may be worth 1,000 words, but a formula is worth 1,000 pictures!” It is no joke--we need some seriously good “formulas,” when it comes to the important real-time analytical work required to support our increasingly complex grid.
A big gap needs to be filled, between pretty pictures illustrating general smart utility concepts, and actual applications in practice.
Enter the Grid Data Program, BetterGrids.org, and GridBright, Inc.
Fundamentally, to build the new tools we will need to optimize increasingly complex dispatch on the grid, we will need reliable and highly detailed models of electricity demand, in all its complexity, along with equally detailed data models of the varying output of all the different sources of electric power which utilities employ to meet that demand, as well as additional models for performance parameters for T&D systems connecting the two.
The Grid Data Program
The Grid Data Repository hosts a secure data collaboration platform to facilitate data sharing among project teams. It preserves research results as open source data and software in a free electronic library of grid models.
The Grid Data Repository is being developed for the DOE Advanced Research Program Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), as part of the Grid Data program to support research in grid optimization and modernization. The Repository organizes data from disparate utility industry sources, publications by the grid research community, and new grid models being created under the ARPA-E Grid Data program. It is an important new tool for fostering stronger collaboration among many different industry stakeholders with interest in new algorithms for grid optimization, control, resiliency, and integration of renewable and distributed resources.
The BetterGrids Foundation provides support for the Repository in a self-funding and self-governing manner through volunteers. The Foundation is a non-profit organization.
We are delighted to leverage the Grid Data Repository we have developed with ARPA-E funding to support three new promising research projects aimed at integrating increasing levels of solar generation into the grid," said Ali Vojdani, GridBright CEO.
GridBright, Inc. (www.gridbright.com) is one of the Grid Data program awardees that is contracted by ARPA-E to build Grid Data Repository. It is a boutique systems integration and consulting company specializing in Grid Management.
GridBright is focused on helping electric utility grid operations, through smarter solutions for managing resiliency, distributed resources, and renewables. Headquartered in Alamo, California, GridBright serves utilities and generation companies in United States and Canada, specializing in distribution management and emergency response, and exceptional expertise in renewable resources interconnection and integration.
The three new research projects represent collaborations among a large number of leading-edge companies including several utilities, technology vendors, national labs, consulting companies, and universities. In all three projects, GridBright will perform the role of Project Data Curator to assist in data collection, conversion, integration, management, and publication.
More information is available at BetterGrids.org
Editor's Note: Dr. Alexandra von Meier, one of the directors for BetterGrids, has previously contributed to T&D World's Grid Optimization discussions: