Design and Planning Tools

Today’s design and planning tools for the electrical grid cannot handle uncertainty, rely on simplifying the underlying physics of power systems, and are typically run on desktop personal computers or small servers. While more capabilities are increasingly added to these tools, they do not take advantage of modern computing techniques, and they will ultimately be unable to keep pace with the increasing complexity of the grid.

Research within this technical area falls under three main activities with related goals.

Activity 1:  Scaling Tools for Comprehensive Economic Assessments

Goal: Develop next-generation design and planning tools for economic assessments at all time scales—from day-ahead planning to long-term procurement of infrastructure—with significantly higher spatial and temporal resolutions, integrated transmission system and distribution system modeling, lower modeling uncertainty, and reduced run times.

Activity 2: Developing and Adapting Tools for Improving Reliability and Resilience

Goal: Develop next-generation design and planning tools that will sufficiently address reliability and resilience as the grid becomes more complex. Some applications of these tools include ensuring fault tolerance, designing protection systems, diagnosing faults and blackouts, and assessing the impact of high-consequence events such as electromagnetic pulses, geomagnetic disturbances (generally caused by solar flares), and cyber or physical attacks.

Activity 3: Building Computational Technologies and High-Performance Computing Capabilities to Speed Up Analyses

Goal: Employ advanced computing technologies to reduce the time for solving complex grid models, substantially extend the complexity and volume of scenarios analyzed, enhance the performance of existing tools, and provide data repositories for analysis and code development.