Sandia National Laboratories
Exceptional service in the national interest
Renewable energy and distributed resource integration
What will the future of electricity distribution look like? Sandia’s Renewable Energy and Distributed Systems Integration (RDSI) program is helping to develop and validate solutions to the challenges facing the nation’s energy providers, supporting rapid decarbonization while addressing reliability, resilience and cybersecurity needs to maintaining this critical infrastructure; building the next generation of interconnected systems and microgrids.
To ensure national security, design the grids of the future; ensuring resilience and reliability to solve the most difficult challenges to our future electric needs, RDSI is committed to creating a better world by creating a better grid. See how our team works to achieve this future through our research and development.
Testing platforms in the Distributed Energy Technology Laboratory (DETL) evaluate security, interoperability, grid support functionality, and reliability of renewable and distributed energy resources (DER) components.
Distributed Energy Technologies Laboratory
RDSI researchers at Sandia develop and evaluate new power electronics architectures and controls for the next-generation of inverters and converters in order to improve the performance and reliability of power conversion for DER aggregations.
With increasing number of electric vehicles (EVs) on the road, RDSI researchers are developing cybersecurity threat and grid integration models to accelerate the safe and secure deployment of smart EV charging infrastructure on the nation’s power system.
Renewable and distributed energy resources’ capabilities, performance, safety, interoperability, cybersecurity and grid support functionality are regulated by standards that RDSI contributes to.
Physical and cybersecurity technologies applied to power systems developed, evaluated and deployed by RDSI researchers, harden the power system against the threat of attacks.
RDSI researchers analyze the impact of large-scale deployment of distributed and renewable energy on the grid and help industry incorporate these advances into next-generation operations and software.
Sandia has partnered with the University of Arizona to develop, demonstrate, test and deploy an accessible, extensible, open-source framework that enables evaluations of irradiance, solar power, and net-load forecasts that are impartial, repeatable and auditable. This framework will provide reference data and benchmark forecasts against which forecast skill can be measured over time. The goal is create a user-friendly framework for forecast providers, utilities, balancing authorities or fleet generation operators. Learn more (solar forecasting dashboard – alpha version)
Energy Storage Sizing for Puerto Rico
Sandia, in partnership with Oak Ridge National Laboratory, is conducting a system-wide study of Puerto Rico’s electric transmission and distribution system to determine optimal size and location for battery storage systems. The purpose of the project is to significantly improve Puerto Rico’s grid resilience and performance during calm weather conditions, expand the system’s capacity fo renewable energy deployment and to also significantly improve grid conditions in the face of other large-scale threats such as cyber-attack and man-made or natural disasters. Researchers will also study the island’s ability to operate as a self-sufficient microgrid with enhanced integration of renewable energy technologies. Learn more (pdf).
Advanced Sensors – MagSense
As advancements are made in grid technology, new, innovative ways to detect abnormalities in electrical components and ways to protect the grid from catastrophic failure must be researched. Researchers at Sandia’s Distributed Energy Technology Laboratory (DETL) are developing and testing a new sensor that will monitor the health of grid components and detect abnormalities and failures. Learn More (pdf).
Threat Model of Vehicle Charging Infrastructure
Every day, more electric vehicles are traveling on our roads and through our communities. Because of this growth, the need for increased availability of charging stations is growing as well. Also on the rise is the risk for cyber-attacks through the smart technology-driven components. These potential attacks threaten not only the electric grid, but personal privacy as well. Researchers at Sandia and other national laboratories, along with industry representatives have developed a new threat model that will be used to demonstrate the risk, assess existing charging infrastructure and provide stakeholders with the education they need to help them understand their role in providing grid security and resilience.
A microgrid is a small-scale version of an interconnected electric grid. Microgrids can locally mange the operation of distributed energy resources, such a photovoltaics (PV), wind, electric vehicles, energy-storage, demand response, and thermal energy systems while connected to larger host grid or as an independent power system. Sandia’s Renewable and Distributed Systems Integration, Energy Storage, and Defense Energy programs are developing technologies and applying microgrid solutions nationwide to supply communities with more resilient power. Learn more about Sandia’s work on advanced microgrids. Learn more by visiting our microgrid information page.
Sandia’s distributed energy integration research supports a broad set of partners and stakeholders. Sandia actively seeks collaboration and partnerships with a range of stakeholders, including other national laboratories, universities, electric utilities, industry, federal and state agencies, and international consortia. These partnerships produce high quality, high impact results in research and development and enable demonstrations, validation, feasibility planning, resilience, cyber and physical security, protection, controls and more to contribute to a more secure and reliable grid that is increasingly distributed.
Partnership areas include:
For more information, visit https://www.sandia.gov/ess-ssl/partnerships/
Summer Ferreira – Manager, RDSI
The Microgrid Design Toolkit (MDT) is a visual design and trade-space optimization capability for microgrid planning. A multi-objective optimization algorithm executes a discrete event Monte-Carlo simulation to characterize performance and reliability of candidate microgrid designs.
A fully-documented set of Matlab functions that can be used to build distribution grid performance models using the open source distribution modeling tool OpenDSS.
The automated system validation platform (SVP) quickly determines the performance of distributed energy resources equipment for a range of interoperable and interconnection functions. This technology has been developed under a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with the SunSpec Alliance and is used by labs across the globe in the Smart Grid International Research Facility Network (SIRFN) project.
This project provides utilities, grid operators, and distributed energy resource aggregators with a greater capacity to provide voltage and frequency regulation and other grid support functions by aggregating distributed energy resources into secure, reliable virtual power plants (VPP). The VPP optimizes distributed energy resource dispatch and real-time control under high uncertainty.