Pacific National Northwest Lab’s Electricity Infrastructure Operations Center

I wrote a blog entry about PNNL winning $89 DOE Grant.  I’ve had chances to visit PNNL, but my trips got cancelled at the last minute.

Curious I found the Electricity Infrastructure Operations Center.


What is the EIOC?

EIOC training room

The Electricity Infrastructure Operations Center (EIOC) at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory brings together industry-leading software, real-time grid data and advanced computation into a fully capable control room. Shaped with input from utilities, technology vendors and researchers across the Northwest, the EIOC serves as a unique platform for researching, developing and deploying technologies to better manage and control the grid. The new technologies developed here will be transferable across the industry and address the national need for a more reliable and effective electricity grid.

Addressing a Need

City skyline at night

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory researchers are exploring how changes in the way the nation's electrical grid is operated can improve its reliability, lower costs and lessen environmental impacts. The focus is on developing real-time tools and supporting their integration into operating systems. We recognize and understand the need for new tools that provide not only a better view of the current power grid, but also faster and more accurate predictions of what might be happening so operators can quickly respond.

Being geeky, I found the HPC efforts interesting.

Real-time simulations

Real-time operations platform graph
Figure 1. Integrated real-time operations platform for state estimation and grid simulation. Applying high-performance computing to power grid simulation enables real-time state estimation, faster-than-real-time dynamic simulation and dynamic contingency analysis. Click for a larger image.

At Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, we believe that traditional power grid algorithms can be reformulated and applied to high-performance computing platforms. Applying high-performance computing techniques and advanced computing hardware involves two major aspects: reformulation of power grid equations and parallelization of computational processes.

Power grid operations include many important functions. "State estimation" is central for driving other key functions, e.g., contingency analysis, optimal power flow and automatic generation control. State estimation typically receives telemetered data from the SCADA system every four seconds and extrapolates a full set of grid conditions for operators based on the grid's current configuration and a theoretically based engineering power flow solution.

Data Visualization

Visualization in Power

Visualization conveys complex information to system operators

Screenshot of Power Grid Visualization application
Force directed representation of the Western Power Grid. Click for a larger image.

Historically, the visualization of power system data has not kept pace with state-of-the-art visualization techniques. Work performed at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory's Electricity Infrastructure Operations Center (EIOC) leverages techniques and tools previously developed by the National Visualization and Analytics Center (NVAC), located at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, for applications not related to power systems. By collaborating with NVAC it has been possible to apply new technologies to power system applications with a significantly reduced lead time.