System Operations, Power Flow, and Control

As the nation’s electric grid transitions from central, one-way delivery of power into both distributed generation and distributed control systems using advanced communication tools, new approaches are needed to enhance reliability and efficiency. Advanced technologies can help optimize system operations and react to off-normal conditions while preserving system reliability and improving resilience.

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

Activity 1: Develop a New System Architecture and Control Theory

Goal: The existing grid architecture has developed organically and has grown so complex that it is impossible to make any significant change with a full understanding of the consequences. To address this issue, this activity will develop a modern grid system architecture and an associated control theory.

Activity 2: Develop Coordinated System Controls

Goal: Create a next-generation grid operating system using grid-level integration of Energy Management Systems (EMS), Distribution Management Systems (DMS), and Building Management Systems (BMS), resulting in operations with less reserve margin and dramatically enhancing the energy and economic efficiency of the system.

Activity 3: Improve the Analytics and Computations for Grid Operations and Control

Goal: Power systems are operated today using the same conservative approaches that have been used for decades, resulting in an underutilized grid infrastructure, higher energy costs to consumers, and expensive or difficult deployment of new grid technologies. This activity will develop a new suite of power grid analytics for grid control and system modeling and will draw on parallel and distributed computing algorithms run on advanced computational platforms.

Activity 4: Develop Enhanced Devices for Power Flow Control

Goal:  Develop low cost, efficient, and reliable power electronic devices for power flow control, potentially eliminating wasteful loop flows and helping to decrease grid congestion.