The Nation’s aging transmission infrastructure must be expanded and enhanced to ensure its reliability and sustainability. In order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, renewable resources that provide clean, yet variable, generation will be integrated into the grid of the future along with new, energy efficient end-use technologies (such as plug-in hybrid vehicles). In order to both accommodate generation variability and facilitate demand flexibility, the restructured transmission system will need to dynamically assess energy supply and demand and then respond accordingly in real time. Specialized modeling and visualization capabilities will be required to plan and manage the increased capacity and complexity of the modern grid with its varied sources and loads.
ORNL’s Distributed Energy Communications and Controls (DECC) Laboratory conducts grid R&D using an ORNL-owned campus distribution system. This unique facility is developing novel methods to regulate voltage locally and to help utilities satisfy reactive reserve requirements associated with clean energy technologies. DECC researchers have developed a dynamic model of the Catalina Island power system for studying the impacts of high penetration of renewable energy resources and have led efforts to promote load as a reliability resource, working with both industrial and commercial partners to demonstrate how controlled and systematic reduction of noncritical loads can be used to offset generation variability. Furthermore, ORNL is developing dynamic grid monitoring tools and analysis capabilities that will be required to plan and manage the increased capacity and complexity of the modern grid with its varied sources and loads.