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Energy Systems Integration News

A monthly recap of the latest energy systems integration (ESI) developments at NREL and around the world.

July 2016

Read the latest ESI news from NREL.

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NREL Cybersecurity Workshop Focuses on Securing the Future Grid

NREL's Cyber-Physical Systems Security and Resilience R&D Center hosted a workshop at the Energy Systems Integration Facility July 13-14 that featured presentations from Jeff Katz, Chief Technology Officer for the Energy and Utilities Industry at IBM, and Dr. Carol Hawk, Cybersecurity for Energy Delivery Systems R&D Program Manager for the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability in the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The workshop provided an opportunity for participants to network and explore closer collaboration to maximize the value of research in cybersecurity and resilience of grid integration with distributed energy resource (DER) infrastructure.

Dr. Hawk highlighted some of the innovative DOE-funded research projects that are integrating cybersecurity controls with power systems principles to improve situational awareness and provide better mitigations against sophisticated cyberattacks on power systems. Katz challenged attendees to think of security from many perspectives and to address security issues before too much infrastructure is developed. Participants were also encouraged to address cyber and physical security in tandem rather than in isolation, and to consider interoperability as a key factor in improving the cybersecurity posture of DER integration with the grid.

Workshop participants were also given a demonstration of NREL's newly constructed Test Bed for Secure Distribution Management, a hardware and software system that mimics the communications, power systems, and cybersecurity layers for a utility's distribution system. The event ended with the establishment of a working group that will develop a report based on the workshop discussions. The report will include a set of recommendations for future R&D in cybersecurity and resilience of grid integration with DERs.

NREL, SolarCity Complete Experimental Evaluation of PV Inverter Anti-Islanding with Grid Support Functions in Multi-Inverter Island Scenarios

Distributed energy resources (DERs) such as photovoltaic (PV) systems have long been required to disconnect from the electric grid when an electrical island is formed. Typically, PV inverters perform the islanding detection function autonomously using one or more of a variety of methods. But as more and more PV and other DER systems connect to the grid, island detection may become more challenging.

A new report by NREL and SolarCity describes a series of tests designed to examine the impacts of both grid support functions and multi-inverter islands on anti-islanding effectiveness. Crucially, the multi-inverter anti-islanding tests described in the report examine scenarios with multiple inverters connected to multiple different points on the grid. While this so-called "solar subdivision" scenario has been examined to some extent through simulation, this is the first known work to test it using hardware inverters. Crucial to the work was the Energy Systems Integration Facility's power hardware-in-the-loop simulation capability, which allows the hardware inverters to be connected to a real-time transient simulation of an electric power system that can be easily reconfigured to test various distribution circuit scenarios.

Learn more about NREL's collaboration with SolarCity to address the safety, reliability, and stability challenges of interconnecting high penetrations of distributed PV with the electric power system.

In Case You Missed It

Requests for FY 2017 HPC Resources Due August 1

The deadline to submit requests to use NREL's high-performance computing (HPC) resources next year is quickly approaching. NREL provides HPC and related capabilities to support the mission of the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). Research and development projects that are funded by EERE offices or aligned with the EERE mission are eligible to use these resources.

On behalf of EERE, NREL coordinates the allocation of its HPC resources each fiscal year. For fiscal year 2017 (FY17), the allocation period runs November 1, 2016, through October 31, 2017. Allocation requests are due August 1, 2016. Resources to be allocated include approximately 21 million node hours (nodes have 16 or 24 cores), 750 terabytes of shared data storage, and up to 1 petabyte of long-term data storage.

See the FY17 Allocations page of the NREL HPC website for more information.

Save the Date: Grid Modernization Workshops at NREL in September

The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE's) Grid Modernization Initiative was launched in early 2016 with a series of six regional workshops. These workshops were designed to solicit stakeholder input on DOE's grid-related R&D strategy and the grid-related technical challenges of regional and national policy initiatives.

Stakeholder feedback from these initial workshops is shaping DOE's Grid Modernization Multi-Year Program Plan and the R&D work of the National Laboratories. However, in order for the labs' R&D efforts to be the most effective and useful, continued collaboration with stakeholders from all sectors is vital.

To continue this collaboration, workshops related to the Devices and Integrated Systems technical area will be held September 13-14, 2016, at NREL's Energy Systems Integration Facility in Golden, Colorado. Stay tuned to for more information.

More New ESI Publications