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Modeling the Integrated Grid

How is the rapid changing electric power grid impacting your planning process?

Electric utilities in the US and across the globe are facing a paradigm shift in how their grid is modeled and how to integrate new, high fidelity data.

Following the US market housing crisis in 2005, the slow evolving economic rebound has redirected utility planning to address new challenges. Utilities have made the shift in priorities to support feeder hardening projects, system resiliency and most recently grid modernization. Grid Modernization is a catch all term for all of the above inclusive of managing distributed energy resources (DER) such as photovoltaic solar generation, battery storage and distribution automation. The integration of DER-namely PV and storage on the distribution network has been and will continue to be a major disrupter to utility planning as time series analysis is not a nice to have, but a requirement.

Smart grid initiatives and federal funding from the DOE infrastructure development projects have jump started the grid modernization efforts by facilitating investment on the distribution grid to operate more in real time and give insights into loading at 15 minute intervals and self healing switching schemes.

Technology advancements in wireless communication networks has laid the foundation for smart meters and smart switches to communicate with the utility operations centers. Without advanced wireless networks and high speed data communication, we would still be in the #dialupyoursubstationforadailyread business.

Significant investments in smart grid technologies and the introduction of time based sensor data downstream of the substation, paved the way to a dramatic shift in computer modeling from peak day analysis to time range simulation analysis including weather factors that drive PV generation output.
Fortunately, DNV GL and Synergi Electric software, pioneered time series analysis many years ago before these new data sets and use cases were as ubiquitous as today. Synergi Electric supports four day types (weekday, weekend, peak day and minimum load). Clients that have detailed load data and customer class data can apply this to their distribution models to support time range analysis and simulate time and weather impacts of pv generation.

 

 

 

New applications to support the analysis of distributed energy resource planning can leverage the time based load modeling data and weather profiles in Synergi Electric.

While this is exciting and a paradigm shift in the industry, we must be cautious and consider that these concepts are models. The representation and behavior is a computer simulation that relies on data from many sources and unfortunately, it will never be 100 percent accurate just like weather models can’t always predict the weekly forecast.  Utility planning is a process, and we believe that we have the tools to support the new processes and data sources.

If you are considering migrating to time series modeling, please let us know, or if you have questions about this topic, please feel free to comment below.

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