Computation Model Playing Critical Role in Better Grid Management

The electric utility grid is a large and complex animal, and the increasing integration of distributed generation resources—such as solar photovoltaic (PV) generation—is making it increasingly challenging to maintain grid stability.

EDD, an NISC company, continues its work on the Faster-than-Real-Time Simulation with Demonstration for Resilient Distributed Energy Resource Integration project. Findings show distributed computation can play a critical role in the quest to help electric utilities better predict, sense and react to voltage fluctuations in their systems—and ultimately enhance overall grid stability.

By definition, distributed computation refers to when components of a software system are shared among multiple computers, but still run as one system. This improves system efficiency and performance. When the model is applied to grid management, it enhances the ability of smart inverters to coordinate with utility control needs for regulating voltage to maintain grid stability.

According to Robert Broadwater, NISC senior product manager, preliminary feeder performance tests show that applying distributed computation reduces computing time by half as compared to running the computations on a single processor. These results should improve significantly as more feeders are concurrently analyzed.

“We don’t want utility control devices chasing fluctuations in PV generation caused by clouds,” Broadwater said. “Applying the distributed computation enables system operators to more effectively schedule smart inverters to take up voltage control, solving things in real time. It’s pretty neat—we’ve worked on it a long time.”

Visit edd-us.com to learn more about EDD’s involvement in the project, and what it might mean for the future of the electric utility industry. To learn more about NISC’s Operations Solution and how the NISC enterprise might help your organization, please visit nisc.coop.