Sandia conducts multi-disciplinary R&D on technologies that enable grid modernization and large-scale deployment of renewable and distributed energy resources.

Addressing the Challenges

Electric power grids are facing a major transformation, driven by growing deployment of renewable and distributed energy resources, along with a wide variety of related smart grid technologies that allow prosumers and utilities to optimally manage energy production, distribution, and consumption. This transformation poses major technical, policy, and regulatory challenges: renewable generation is variable and uncertain and distributed energy resources are deployed in low voltage networks that were not originally designed to host large amounts of generation.

As it evolves, the smart grid will require advanced analysis tools and methods, as well as an increased reliance on automation to create a more reliable, resilient, flexible, secure, and efficient power system. Sandia’s Distributed and Renewable Grid Integration R&D Program contributes to achieving this vision, drawing upon expertise in a wide range of science and engineering disciplines including cybersecurity, complex systems, optimization, controls, power electronics, and enabling technologies such as energy storage and microgrids.

Sandia maintains and continually improves R&D capabilities, including unique multi-domain design and characterization platforms for grid devices and systems, and a rich set of partnerships with government agencies, national laboratories, universities, and industry stakeholders.

Research Areas

Sandia’s smart grid and microgrid R&D program develops new devices, controls, methods, and analysis tools to design distribution systems and microgrids that enable large-scale deployment of distributed energy resources and renewable energy. Sandia also conducts laboratory validation and full-scale demonstrations showcasing disruptive solutions including advanced simulation tools, new power electronics concepts, adaptive control and protection systems, and new testing methodologies and standards.

Featured Projects:

Sandia develops and applies advanced modeling and simulation techniques to analyze the impact of large-scale deployment of distributed energy resources and renewable energy on the grid. Sandia develops and validates multi-domain models for grid analysis and advanced decision support tools to support research activities and partner with industry to incorporate these advances into next-generation operations and planning commercial software. Sandia pioneered computationally efficient and scalable quasi-static time series (QSTS) power flow and stochastic analysis techniques to analyze high-penetration of distributed energy resources in distribution feeders. Sandia also pioneered the development of dynamic models for wind and solar generation and advanced stochastic methods to optimize system panning and operations.

Featured Projects:

Sandia has a comprehensive power electronics and controls R&D program focusing on improving performance, efficiency, and reliability of next generation inverters and converters. These capabilities extend to expertise in wide bandgap device physics and fabrication and to the development of novel controls for distributed energy resources aggregation into microgrids or virtual power plants.

Sandia works with industry and utilities to validate and demonstrate new smart grid technologies using laboratory experiments and real-world demonstrations. Sandia applies automated testing platforms to evaluate cybersecurity, interoperability, grid compatibility, controls performance, reliability, and safety of renewable energy and distributed energy resources devices and systems. These activities involve control and power hardware-in-the-loop (c/p-HIL) capabilities. Some examples are Sandia’s SCEPTRE Emulytics, combining controls, cybersecurity, communications, and power systems domains; and the System Validation Platform (SVP), a c-HIL which accelerates the development, certification, and standardization of distributed energy resources technologies through rapid and fully automated laboratory evaluation. Sandia also conducts full-scale demonstrations involving customer and utility assets.

Featured Projects:

With major stakeholders, Sandia pursues standardization or implementation of best practices related to interconnection, interoperability, and safety of renewable energy and distributed energy resources. Sandia has been a major contributor to standards related to arc fault detection and mitigation, interoperability, disturbance tolerance, and grid support functionality. Sandia’s contributions span scientific basis, development of testing procedures, and harmonization across the industry. With national and international partners, Sandia leads working groups under the International Smart Grid Action Network Smart Grid (ISGAN) International Research Facility Network (SIRFN), IEEE 1547, Smart Inverter Working Group, UL 1741, Smart Grid Interoperable Panel (SGIP), and multiple other collaborations.

Jay Johnson, Principal Member of Technical Staff, conducting research in the Distributed Energy Technologies Laboratory.

Sandia maintains integrated laboratory facilities that provide capabilities for real-world R&D of renewable and distributed energy resources technologies.  These facilities, combined with technical expertise in power electronics, cybersecurity, high performance computing, visualization, controls, and reliability science, provide a test platform to support advanced R&D on a wide variety of civilian and military applications:


Grid Modernization Initiative 2017 Peer Review

The U.S. Department of Energy will hold a peer review of their Grid Modernization Initiative (GMI) projects on April 18-21, 2017 at the Sheraton Pentagon City Hotel in Arlington, VA.  This event will be open to the public and will [...]

New Sandia Grid Modernization Program Newsletter Now Available

Sandia’s newest quarterly newsletter features research highlights, event information, staff recognition, and recent publications and patents related to modernizing our nation’s electricity infrastructure. Topics focus on the primary research areas of Sandia’s Grid Modernization Program [...]

Upcoming Webinar: Comparing the Abilities of Energy Storage, PV, and Other Distributed Energy Resources to Provide Grid Services, Monday, March 13, 3:00pm-4:30pm ET

The grid is undergoing a transformation leading to greater utilization of Distributed Energy Resources (DER). DER devices include batteries, PV, and even aggregated hot water heaters or building lighting systems. At the core of this [...]

Register Today for the Energy Assurance and Advanced Microgrid Conceptual Design Course on March 13-14

As a follow on to the Microgrids Webinar  hosted during October Energy Month, Sandia, along with the Tactical Microgrids Standards Consortium, will be having a 2-day microgrids design workshop on March 13-14, 2017 at the [...]

Abraham Ellis | Ph: 505.844.7717 | Renewable and Distributed Systems Integration Program Manager

Olga Lavrova | Ph: 505-845-3166 | Systems Reliability, Manufacturing, and Diagnostics

Jay Johnson | Ph: 505.284.9586 | Smart Grid Integration

Jason Neely | Ph: 505.845.7677 | Power Electronics and Controls

Robert Broderick | Ph: 505.366.1120 | Utility Distribution Systems Analysis

Sigifredo Gonzalez | Ph: 505.845.8942 | Distributed Energy Technologies Laboratory

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