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Vision for a Modern Grid Improved with PNNL Investment

PNNL's Future Power Grid Initiative concludes, new chapter begins for GridOPTICS™

October 2015
PNNL's Electricity Infrastructure Operations Center
PNNL's Electricity Infrastructure Operations Center brings together industry software, real-time grid data, and advanced computation into a functional control room.

With an eye to the future of the nation's electric grid, PNNL's five-year Future Power Grid Initiative (FPGI) came to a close on September 30th, delivering a powerful suite of tools— GridOPTICS™—designed to improve grid management and operations.

"As we complete FPGI, the focus now shifts to advancing GridOPTICS™. This tool suite not only will benefit the grid, but national security, and potentially fields such as emergency response. The tools that have been developed through FPGI reflect visionary, innovative thinking of our research teams," said Henry Huang, who served as an FPGI co-lead with Jeff Dagle for the duration of the initiative.

Through internal investments of approximately $16 million from PNNL's Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) program, the Initiative conceptualized and developed the comprehensive GridOPTICS™ capability suite. As GridOPTICS™ tools were created, federal agencies, particularly the Department of Energy and Department of Homeland Security, provided additional funding to FPGI, either to further develop the tools or use in them in projects. FPGI also partnered with power grid entities, other national laboratories and academia to advance the development and use of GridOPTICS™.

PNNL's VOLTTRON™ software
PNNL's VOLTTRON™ software is installed as a controller on this small-scale computer.

GridOPTICS™ capabilities include four open-source technologies:

  • VOLTTRON™, a distributed control and sensing software platform that facilitates development of applications for more efficiently managing energy use among appliances and devices
  • GridPACK™, a software framework that harnesses advanced computing to simplify the development of power grid modeling programs
  • GridOPTICS™ Software System (GOSS), a middleware framework that integrates grid applications with sources of data and facilitates easy communication between them
  • Framework for Network Co-Simulation, a federated co-simulation platform that merges communication (data) simulators with distribution and transmission simulators.

Other examples of GridOPTICS™ capabilities include:

  • powerNET, a testbed to assist and accelerate power system technology research and development
  • Decision Support capabilities that enable inter-organizational collaboration among power grid entities to improve system reliability and contingency response and mitigation
  • The Power Model Integrator—an efficient, cost-saving method to forecast electricity needs. Successfully tested in an electric transmission environment, PMI recently was named a 2015 finalist for the prestigious R&D 100 Award.

"This is just a sampling of FPGI accomplishments," said Huang. "We could not have done this without the support of PNNL's leadership, the LDRD program, the many staff who made outstanding contributions to the success of the initiative, DOE and other agencies, and external organizations that have collaborated with us. We’re confident that GridOPTICS™ is positioned to bring solutions to national power grid needs."

Wrap-up Events Showcase FPGI, GridOPTICS™ Future

Three consecutive events at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in late August and early September examined not only the Future Power Grid Initiative's development and impact, but also the future of the GridOPTICS™ capability suite. Participants from government, industry and research fields attended one or more of the events:


The key focus going forward is the formation of a community of users and advocates to further develop the GridOPTICS™ tools and their use by industry. For example, national experts involved in DOE’s Grid Modernization Laboratory Consortium will have access to GridOPTICS™ as they work to improve the resiliency, reliability, and sustainability of the nation's power grid.

For more information, visit the GridOPTICS™ website.

Page 316 of 1051

Energy and Environment

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