PROJECT PROFILE: National Renewable Energy Laboratory 1 (ENERGISE)

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Title: Enhanced Control, Optimization, and Integration of Distributed Energy Applications
Funding Opportunity: ENERGISE
SunShot Subprogram: Systems Integration
Location: Golden, CO
Amount Awarded: $2,500,000
Awardee Cost Share: $3,023,505

This project develops, validates, and tests a unique and innovative data-enhanced hierarchical control (DEHC) architecture that enables the efficient, reliable, resilient, and secure operation of future distribution systems with a high penetration of distributed energy resources like solar energy. The DEHC architecture enables a hybrid control approach where a centralized control layer will be complemented by distributed control algorithms for solar inverters and autonomous control of grid edge devices. The architecture aims to be fully interoperable and include all the cybersecurity aspects that are necessary for reliable and secure system operation.


The research team will develop the DEHC architecture by integrating two important functions into one system. First, it uses advanced applications for real-time operation and control of traditional Volt/VAR resources, as well as edge devices, which offer reactive and active power support. Second, it uses real-time monitoring and forecasting of the distribution grid to maintain comprehensive situational awareness.


This project addresses the challenges of adding increasingly large amounts of solar energy onto the grid, including reverse power flows, transients from variability of PV systems, feeder load balancing, and voltage stability. The hybrid approach of the DEHC architecture will seamlessly integrate multiple voltage-regulation technologies, both at central and grid-edge levels, which enables reliable and efficient system operation in the face of unpredictable conditions.