DOE News
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    The DOE Science News Source is a Newswise initiative to promote research news from the Office of Science of the DOE to the public and news media.
    • 2017-09-14 12:05:41
    • Article ID: 681126

    SLAC-Led Project Will Use Artificial Intelligence to Prevent or Minimize Electric Grid Failures

    It's the first to employ AI to help the grid manage power fluctuations, resist damage and bounce back faster from storms, solar eclipses, cyberattacks and other disruptions. Partners include utilities and Berkeley Lab.

    • Credit: @iStockphoto.com/9amstock

      A project led by SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory is the first to use artificial intelligence to make the electric grid more resilient. It's part of the DOE's Grid Modernization Initiative.

    Menlo Park, Calif. — A project led by the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory will combine artificial intelligence with massive amounts of data and industry experience from a dozen U.S. partners to identify places where the electric grid is vulnerable to disruption, reinforce those spots in advance and recover faster when failures do occur.

    The eventual goal is an autonomous grid that seamlessly absorbs routine power fluctuations from clean energy sources like solar and wind and quickly responds to disruptive events – from major storms to eclipse-induced dips in solar power – with minimal intervention from humans.

    “This project will be the first of its kind to use artificial intelligence and machine learning to improve the resilience of the grid,” said Sila Kiliccote, director of SLAC’s Grid Integration, Systems and Mobility lab, GISMo, and principal investigator for the project. “While the approach will be tested on a large scale in California, Vermont and the Midwest, we expect it to have national impact, and all the tools we develop will be made available either commercially or as open source code.”

    Called GRIP, for Grid Resilience and Intelligence Project, the project builds on other efforts to collect massive amounts of data and use it to fine-tune grid operations, including SLAC’s VADER project. It’s one of seven Grid Modernization Laboratory Consortium projects aimed at boosting grid resilience that will receive up to $32 million in funding as part of the DOE’s Grid Modernization Initiative. GRIP was awarded up to $6 million over three years.

    The project will use both machine learning, where computers ingest large amounts of data and teach themselves how a system behaves, and artificial intelligence, which uses the knowledge the machines have acquired to solve problems.

    SLAC’s GISMo lab, which works with Stanford University, utilities and other industry partners on smart grid technology, will develop machine learning algorithms that digest data from satellite imagery, utility operations and other sources and build knowledge about how electrical distribution systems work.

    “One of the first places we will test our data analytics platform is at a major California utility,” Kiliccote said. “The idea is to populate the platform with information about what your particular part of the grid looks like, in terms of things like solar and wind power sources, batteries where energy is stored, and how it’s laid out to distribute power to homes and businesses. Then you begin to look for anomalies – things that could be configured better.”

    For instance, she said, a grid can be divided into “islands,” or microgrids, that can be isolated to prevent a power disruption from spreading and taking the whole system down.

    “You can also learn a lot just from satellite imagery,” Kiliccote said. “For example, you could see where vegetation is growing with respect to the power lines, and anticipate when trees are likely to grow over the power lines and pull them over during a storm.”

    The knowledge and tools developed by the project will be passed along to another partner in the project, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), which represents 834 distribution cooperatives that provide electricity to an estimated 42 million people in 47 states. The association will help deploy the tools the team develops on standard utility industry platforms, make them available to its members and help the team integrate them into existing industry planning and operational workflows.

    One of those members, Vermont Electric Cooperative, has already been working with Packetized Energy, which develops software and hardware that adjust the power consumption of water heaters and other thermostat-controlled devices when the grid becomes overloaded or the power supply from renewables fluctuates. “We’re working with both of them to build additional controls into that system and demonstrate how we can absorb grid events by reducing loads and moving them around,” Kiliccote said.

    Another partner, the DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, will be deploying and validating control systems it has developed for solar inverters that automatically convert the variable direct current from photovoltaic systems to AC current that’s fed into the grid.

    “Berkeley Lab has pioneered the development of algorithms that can optimally manage distributed energy resources, like wind, solar and batteries, and are completely plug and play,” said Dan Arnold, a research scientist who is leading the Berkeley Lab part of the project. “In this project we're partnering with SLAC to deploy and test our approach in a real utility network. With these algorithms, we hope to be able to create an electric grid that can use distributed energy resources to automatically reconfigure itself to maximize reliability during normal operations or emergencies.”

     


    SLAC is a multi-program laboratory exploring frontier questions in photon science, astrophysics, particle physics and accelerator research. Located in Menlo Park, California, SLAC is operated by Stanford University for the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science. To learn more, please visit www.slac.stanford.edu.

    SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory is supported by the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy. The Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit science.energy.gov.

    The DOE’s Grid Modernization Initiative (GMI) works with public and private partners to develop the concepts, tools, and technologies needed to measure, analyze, predict, protect, and control the grid of the future. The Grid Modernization Laboratory Consortium (GMLC) was established as a strategic partnership between DOE and the national laboratories to bring together leading experts, technologies, and resources to collaborate on the goal of modernizing the nation’s grid.

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    Getting To Know the Microbes that Drive Climate Change

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    Experiments at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have seen for the first time what happens when magnetic materials are demagnetized at ultrafast speeds of millionths of a billionth of a second: The atoms on the surface of the material move, much like the iron bar did. The work, done at SLAC's Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) X-ray laser, was published in Nature earlier this month.


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    Remote-Control Plasma Physics Experiment is Named One of Top Webcams of 2018

    EarthCam names remote-control experiment at PPPL one of 25 most interesting Webcams of 2018.

    Jefferson Lab Scientist Awarded Distinguished Lectureship

    Cynthia Keppel, leader of Jefferson Lab's Halls A&C, has been honored with the APS 2019 Distinguished Lectureship Award on the Applications of Physics.

    Journal Special Issues Honor Chemists Radoslav Adzic and Jan Hrbek

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    Argonne scientist elected as SAE Fellow

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    U.S. Department of Energy Announces $33 Million for Small Business Research and Development Grants

    The U.S. Department of Energy announced it will award 189 grants totaling $33 million to 149 small businesses in 32 states.

    DOE to Provide $16 Million for New Research into Atmospheric and Terrestrial Processes

    The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced a plan to provide $16 million for new observational research aimed at improving the accuracy of today's climate and earth system models.

    Machine learning award powers Argonne leadership in engine design

    When attempting to design engines to be more fuel-efficient and emissions-free, automotive manufacturers have to take into account all the complexity inherent in the combustion process.

    ORNL partners with industry to address multiple nuclear technology challenges

    The Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory is collaborating with industry on six new projects focused on advancing commercial nuclear energy technologies that offer potential improvements to current nuclear reactors and move new reactor designs closer to deployment.

    Lithium earns honors for three physicists working to bring the energy that powers the sun to Earth

    Feature describes research of three PPPL physicists who have won the laboratory's 2018 outstanding research awards


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    Getting To Know the Microbes that Drive Climate Change

    The genetics of viruses living along a permafrost thaw gradient may help scientists better predict the pace of climate change.

    Observing Clouds in Four Dimensions

    Six cameras are revolutionizing observations of shallow cumulus clouds.

    A Challenging Future for Tropical Forests

    Mortality rates of moist tropical forests are on the rise due to environmental drivers and related mechanisms.

    Rapid Lake Draining on Ice Sheets Changes How Water Moves in Unexpected Ways

    Widespread fracturing during lake drainage triggers vertical shafts to form that affect the Greenland Ice Sheet.

    New Historical Emissions Trends Estimated with the Community Emissions Data System

    The data system will allow for more detailed, consistent, and up-to-date global emissions trends that will aid in understanding aerosol effects.

    Peering into the Mist: How Water Vapor Changes Metal at the Atomic Level

    New insights into molecular-level processes could help prevent corrosion and improve catalytic conversion.

    Microbial Types May Prove Key to Gas Releases from Thawing Permafrost

    Scientists discover key types of microbes that degrade organic matter and release carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere.

    New Method Knocks Out Yeast Genes with Single-Point Precision

    Researchers can precisely study how different genes affect key properties in a yeast used industrially to produce fuel and chemicals.

    How Plants Regulate Sugar Deposition in Cell Walls

    Identified genes involved in plant cell wall polysaccharide production and restructuring could aid in engineering bioenergy crops.

    Scientists Identify Gene Cluster in Budding Yeasts with Major Implications for Renewable Energy

    How yeast partition carbon into a metabolite may offer insights into boosting production for biofuels.


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