Grid Modernization Lab Consortium (GMLC)

Delivering a Power Grid for the 21st Century

In November 2014, the DOE launched a cross-cut initiative in Grid Modernization. This included the launch of the Grid Modernization Laboratory Consortium to engage the national labs working on DOE grid programs to frame a new integrated approach for planning and delivering innovations and thought leadership in support of grid modernization. This crosscutting approach ensures that DOE research and development investments and capabilities are fully coordinated.

Comprised of 65 leading scientists and engineers from across the DOE national labs, the technical teams are aligned with six technical thrusts:

  • sensing and measurements
  • devices and integrated systems
  • system operations, power flow, and control
  • design and planning tools
  • security and resilience
  • institutional support

Sandia’s Role in the Grid Modernization Laboratory Consortium

Sandia Led Projects

Sandia is supporting a total of 31 projects across the nation—including projects in New Mexico, Kentucky, Alaska, Louisiana, Vermont, Virginia, and Hawaii—and is leading the efforts of seven GMLC projects in core activities, pioneer regional partnerships, solar energy technologies, and energy storage:

Establishment of GMLC Testing Network: Sandia is leading the development of a lab-based catalog of testing capabilities available at national laboratories, universities, utilities, and other industry groups, as well as a roadmap document identifying opportunities for strategic investment. In addition, an open library will be available as a public repository of component models, simulation tools, and testing resources.

New England/Vermont Regional Partnership: Sandia is working to optimize storage, develop a broadly adoptable holistic approach to distributed energy resources (DER), and assist Vermont utilities in meeting the state’s ambitious goal of obtaining 90% of its energy from renewable sources by 2050. To accomplish this, significant changes in Vermont’s distribution-system architecture and operations will be needed to mitigate the impacts of high penetrations of variable and DER such as voltage violations, equipment failures, thermal overloads, and safety and reliability issues.

Grid Analysis and Design for Energy and Infrastructure Resiliency for New Orleans: Sandia is leading the effort for the framework and development of priority distribution upgrades and advanced microgrid pilot projects that can help bolster resiliency for New Orleans and other coastal U.S. cities during hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, and other disasters that coastal cities face.

This project will accelerate Quasi Static Time Series (QSTS) simulation capabilities through the use of new and innovative methods for advanced time-series analysis. By reducing the computational time and complexity of QSTS analysis and developing high-resolution proxy data sets, QSTS analysis could be the next industry-preferred photovoltaics (PV) impact assessment method.

As the only laboratory working on this project, Sandia’s goal is to develop a distributed control and communications architecture that refines the SunShot Systems Integration communications target metrics by clearly articulating the impact of each metric on the grid.

Sandia is collaborating with states, utilities, and storage providers to help elucidate storage benefits and integration challenges. Four demonstration projects for this effort cover a wide range of promising technologies and applications: Green Mountain Power (Vermont), Salem Smart Grid Center (Oregon), Electric Power Board of Chattanooga (Tennessee), and Los Alamos County (New Mexico). The outcome will be analysis that identifies the value streams for each potential application, as well as operational modes and control strategy for the optimal utilization of the energy storage system to maximize the value streams.

Secured Resilient Distribution Systems: Together with electric utilities and other partners, Sandia will work to solidify a framework for community resilience planning focused on grid modernization and investment involving key stakeholders in the community.

Regional Partnerships

Modernization of the U.S. electric grid entails dramatic transformations, with close collaboration required across industry, states, federal agencies, regulators and numerous other stakeholders. In addition to leading the lab-to-lab technical teams to best leverage intellectual and scientific assets, the labs also play a key role in engaging regional stakeholders in new concepts.

For example, the labs are providing institutional support to states, local communities, tribes, and others to develop new regulations needed to unleash the potential of the modern grid.  The labs will also engage in the development and implementation of regional and local demonstrations, co-funded by industry, to accelerate the rate of impact of the new innovations emerging from the DOE Grid Modernization efforts.

In the largest DOE Grid-Modernization Laboratory Consortium (GMLC) project to date, the City of Cordova, Alaska and the national laboratories teamed up on the project RADIANCE. Across five years of work, the RADIANCE team succeeded in updating Cordova’s distribution system infrastructure, deploying microgrid controls, and designing a digital twin for experimentation.

DOE Resources

Charles Hanley

(505) 844-4435