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Fundamental Knowledge

Large-Scale System Modeling and Simulation

This task will address concerns in developing models for large systems with a distributed communication system. The concerns are two-fold: understanding complex behavior that can emerge as system size grows and relying on a modeling framework that can incorporate these complexities, but remain computationally tractable. The developed models will seek an integrated communication and control framework so that limited communications with delays can be addressed.

Faster-Than-Real-Time Simulation

The objective of this sub-thrust is to perform faster-than-real-time computation of large complex power grid dynamics in order to consider millions of possible outcomes within a fraction of a second. Rapid computation of power grid dynamics will benefit power grid operators by predicting dangerous system conditions or trajectories with sufficient time to allow for corrective measures. The research will conduct dynamic contingency analyses with parallel computing on UTK and ORNL supercomputing facilities. The benefit is improvement in grid reliability and efficiency by allowing control actions to avoid instability and operate closer to stability limits.

Tracking State Estimation

The objective in this sub-thrust is to transform today’s SCADA-driven state estimation into a complete synchronized data-driven state observation. This is not a true dynamic state estimator since detailed dynamic models are not known, but rather a tracking state estimator of static snapshots of the system. Still, these snapshots provide trajectories of the system and in this sense are dynamic.

Transmission Network Architecture

This sub-thrust focuses on future wide-area bulk power transmission. Growing energy demand and addition of renewable energy sources will require continued transmission capacity increase, which cannot be satisfied by better wide-area operation control alone. More transmission lines will have to be added, with a number of options available to meet a particular power delivery need.

Non-Hierarchical Flat Control Infrastructure

This work will focus on aspects of flat control that are specific for electric transmission across extremely large areas and multiple time scales. The variable and unpredictable nature of renew-ables and loads introduces dynamic uncertainty that is stochastic. To achieve reliability, a power network must remain dynamically stable and achieve high performance in spite of the various uncertainties in the network.

Power Market Structures

An increased penetration of renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power will present challenges to market operation due to their intermittent nature and negative correlation with peak loads. The present market structure is based on a deterministic model, which is suitable for conventional power generation. However, the uncertainty of renew-ables does not fit this model well. Hence, new market structures associated with intermittent renew-ables will be explored to maximize the low short-run cost of renew-ables, as well as minimize the risk of uncertainty.

Consumer Response & Social Impacts

The design of energy technology cannot be separated from human factors. Yet, relatively little attention has been paid to customers’ attitudes, beliefs, and knowledge associated with their energy use and support for the development of new technology.  Social and psychological factors are central to individuals’ adoption of energy products, energy efficient behaviors, and support for energy policies. For example, demand control and smart metering has already led to protests and lawsuits against utilities. To better understand customers' attitudes and the social impact of power technology demands a multi-disciplinary research.