AGI Researchers Meet in Richland for Strategy Meeting

Richland WA – More than twenty researchers for The Advanced Grid Institute met at Pacific Northwest National Laboratories (PNNL) Friday May 13th for a strategy meeting.  

The meeting marked the first gathering of affiliated researchers since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The agenda focused on reviewing the work the institute has already accomplished, as well as setting goals for future projects. The meeting was led by AGI Co-Directors Noel Schulz and Jeff Dagle. 

New project ideas for the institute ranged from pushing the bounds of electrical engineering, to understanding the economics of implementing new technologies into the nation’s grid. 

AGI’s researchers are dedicated to solving some of the most complex technical challenges facing today’s decentralized, distributed, and transactive energy grid. The nation’s power systems are increasingly under threat of worsening climate conditions and security concerns introduced by the integration of grid edge devices. 

To address these challenges, AGI researchers have developed powerful tools, methods, and software in service of a resilient, dynamic, and decarbonized energy future. During the meeting researchers from both PNNL and WSU gave brief updates on the status and milestones of their research projects to date, for example: 

  • Joint Appointee Henry Huang explained that in the future grid inverter-based generation and distributed resources will displace conventional ones resulting in low system inertia and fast dynamics. His research focuses on studying power electronics in the future power system. 
  • Several researchers like Jason Fuller and Wei Du from PNNL updated on the current development and application of software tools and grid simulation platforms like GridAPPS-Dtm, GridLAB-Dtm, and HELICS. GridAPPS-D is an ecosystem of tools that accelerates the development and deployment of portable applications for advanced grid distribution. GridLAB-Dtm and HELICS offer robust features to design and simulate the power grid. 
  • Marcelo Elizondo, also with PNNL, described his research solving microgrid modeling challenges at different scales. In addition, he shared his work on EGRASS, a tool that is allowing Puerto Rico to visualize and assess the impact of storms on the island’s power grid system. The tool recommends technology solutions that will improve resilience and harden the system against natural disasters. 
  • Researcher and WSU professor, Javier Guerrero, is studying the impact of wildfire smoke in the power system by observing the behavior of wind speed and solar radiation levels in seasons of heavy wildfire smoke. 
  • New Joint Appointee Anamika Dubey described her work which will allow grid operators to coordinate grid edge by integrating data, measurement, and control to optimize distribution operation for grid services. This includes finding novel solutions for algorithmic bottlenecks, ownership boundaries and privacy concerns, and information unavailability and uncertainty. 
  • Joint Appointee Kevin Schneider is using both HELICS and CITADELS to study network of edge devices and how they interact in a distributed way, especially in a mixed ownership environment, to achieve greater grid resiliency and flexibility. His work with consensus algorithms will allow distributed devices, like microgrids, more autonomy to self-assemble when there’s a power outage. 
  • Alan Love, professor of economics at WSU, is focused on the dynamics of a transactive energy system that can easily respond to flexible loads by automatically estimating household electricity demand. He is exploring contract designs to enable energy trading in a transactive energy market. 
  • Joint Appointee Mani Venkatasubramanian discussed his research activities related to oscillation monitoring and stability controls including tools that are being used by RTE France, and collaborations with Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories and San Diego Gas & Electric. 

Additionally, participants of the Distinguished Graduate Research Program received recognition. The meeting is occurring ahead of the institute’s annual “AGI Day” scheduled for August 31st.