Energy Resilience

Energy resilience research at the Energy Systems Integration Facility (ESIF) provides methodologies and visualization to help energy system stakeholders plan for and recover rapidly from disruptions to the electric grid.

Two researchers review a data visualization

The modern grid's capacity to be resilient to disruptions is a critical area of research at the ESIF. When it comes to energy resilience, the abilities to simulate energy systems and evaluate resilience scenarios are essential to helping utilities, communities, and government agencies strengthen their resilience and energy security posture.

Energy resilience researchers are using the ESIF's capabilities to evaluate solutions for maintaining power during disruptions through configuring local microgrids to run autonomously, developing algorithms to control individual segments of the grid to bring them back online faster, and simulate entire energy systems to help grid operators foresee potential vulnerabilities related to disruptions—and either avoid them or respond quickly to them to minimize grid outages.

The ESIF Advantage

High-Performance Computing and Visualization

Advanced machine-learning algorithms for resilience are tested and validated through the ESIF's supercomputer, Eagle, and hardware-in-the-loop simulation capabilities. These algorithms and control technologies are designed to protect microgrids with high penetrations of distributed energy resources, such as renewable energy technologies, during an energy disruption and integrate controls to enhance grid resilience. With the ESIF's advanced visualization capabilities, researchers can also examine baseline conditions of, and potential consequences of failures to, energy system architectures. Visualizations help with the development of new decision-making tools for resilience planning at many scales, such as campuses, military bases, neighborhoods, and cities.

Medium-Voltage Systems Research Area

The effects of physical disruptions on transmission systems with high penetrations of distributed energy resources can be evaluated at the ESIF's Medium-Voltage Outdoor Test Area. The research area can simulate two utility distribution feeders, support energy systems up to 13.2 kilovolts, and identify solutions for resilient energy systems.

Cyber-Energy Emulation Platform

The Cyber-Energy Emulation Platform simulates, multilayer grid environments that allow researchers to visualize and evaluate the interdependencies among power systems, network communications flows, and the ability of energy systems to withstand cyberattacks. This unique capability makes it possible to safely explore energy system vulnerabilities and mitigation effectiveness by integrating hardware throughout the ESIF—such as solar inverters and electric vehicle chargers—with the virtual environment. A real-time application provides a visual layer to the platform for dynamic use case demonstration, allowing analysts to view both the security and resilience of a given system under a variety of cyber, physical, and natural threat scenarios.

Learn more about NREL's work in resilient energy systems.


Eliza Hotchkiss

Group Manager, Resilient Systems Design and Engineering