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Impacts

Read about the impacts of NREL's innovations in computational science.

Using Parallel Computing to Inform Grid Planning Decisions

2019

Challenge

With a growing amount energy on the grid coming from renewable energy sources, techniques that capture the intermittent nature of renewable energy must be used to inform the planning process. State-of-the-art electric grid capacity expansion models are memory and compute limited, making it harder to fully represent the impact of variable renewable generation and mitigation strategies via storage to enable an understanding of 100% penetration of renewables.

Achievement

Scalable Power System Economic Expansion and Dispatch (SPEED) is a capacity expansion model that takes advantage of the availability of a stochastic optimization framework and a mathematical isomorphic coincidence to unlock the power of HPC to address the above challenges using parallel computing. By considering a suite of operational scenarios within the optimization process, SPEED produces planning decisions informed by spatial and temporal variations in renewable energy resources. To ensure scalability, the model is constructed to leverage the horizontal decomposition technique progressive hedging, which enables the model to be solved via parallel computing.

Impact

Energy planners use capacity expansion models to inform power system infrastructure planning decisions to meet future electrical power demand on the grid economically and reliably. To meet these goals, such optimization models must consider the operational implications of the infrastructure built.

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New Simulation Framework Provides Path to the Modern Grid

2019

Challenge

The future electric grid will have a growing number of distributed energy resources (DERs) that have the potential to impact the reliability and resiliency of power, as well as the durability and longevity of the hardware that makes up the grid. Distributed energy resources (DERs) can impact the grid in varying ways and require careful control to balance the loads.

Achievement

NREL created ACES Cosim—a distributed and parallel agent-based framework for simulating advanced control architectures, associated devices, and simulated reality of interactive DERs using high-performance computing resources.

Impact

ACES Cosim makes a path to the modern grid, with multiple and varied DERs, more efficient and stable. Advanced control of DERs can enable the grid to both support higher penetrations of renewable energy by balancing controllable loads with noncontrollable loads, such as wind and PV generation, and reduce peak demand by shedding noncritical loads.