GridBright

The US Department of Energy awarded the Sandia National Laboratories a grant to develop a solution to facilitate utilities' integration of renewable energy resources.Sandia National Laboratories will use the $2.5 million grant over the next three years to research and develop an advanced distribution management system (ADMS) to help energy companies to simplify and secure the integration of distributed energy resources (DERs) with their grid networks.

R&D of smart energy solution

The laboratories will develop open-standard ADMS algorithms capable of providing utility firms with an advanced platform to access the operation of their grid networks in real-time.

The ADMS algorithms will be integrated with Sandia’s commercial energy management software to allow utilities to improve the management and operation of DER-integrated grid networks.

Sandia National Laboratories said it is confident that the integrated smart energy solution will help energy companies to better manage voltage fluctuations and protect grid networks against faults.

Jay Johnson, the principal investigator at Sandia, said: "The project will create the world's first demonstration of an open-source, secure, resilient, optimisation platform.

"The algorithms aggregate field data like inverter data, data from smart meters and industrial control (SCADA) data from utilities, to generate an accurate picture of how the whole system is doing. With that information, the ADMS can adjust the behaviours of individual devices to make the whole system more efficient and safe."

The project aims to help utility companies to reduce their operational expenses incurred by installing voltage regulators in deploying, integrating and managing DERs including wind and solar.

The Sandia National Laboratories will partner with the Georgia Institute of Technology and BPL Global.

Once the development of the smart energy solution is complete, Sandia will implement the technology in grid networks of the National Grid and the Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM).

The programme falls under the DoE’s SunShot initiative which aims to drive down the cost of solar electricity and support solar adoption. [US solar consulting firm wins DOE funding].

Sandia National Laboratories are managed and operated by the Sandia Corporation for the US Department of Energy.

"Being able to see the whole system at a glance is increasingly important because, as a greater percentage of power on the grid comes from distributed resources, there can be greater swings in voltage," reiterated Johnson.