The Grid Integration Group is part of the Energy Storage and Distributed Resources Division within the Energy Technologies Area at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, CA.
The Grid Integration Group conducts research that advances the near-term adoption of distributed energy resources (DER) as well demand response (DR) technologies, policies, programs, strategies and practices. GIG was established in 2012 and merged multiple research topics and teams into one grid and DER/microgrid research focused group. The Technology Evaluation, Modeling, & Assessment Group within the Energy Analysis Department and some of the DR work from the Buildings Technology Department were merged into one group and put in the Energy Storage and Distributed Resources Department. In 2015 the Departments were converted into Divisions so that GIG is now one of five groups within the Energy Storage and Distributed Resources Division (ESDR). More than 50 researchers and students are currently working on the following topics:
- Distribution Grid Research
- Microgrids and Distributed Energy Resources
- Vehicle to Grid Simulation
- Demand Response Research
Since 2015 Michael Stadler has been leading the group together with the deputy Emma Stewart. GIG has its prime focus on technology research. Our research work on microgrids and DR as well as Electric Vehicles is also provided to the industry and other research institutions and groups for their research. New research areas regarding the distribution system are surfacing and since 2015 a strong focus has been put on new methodologies for measuring current and voltage within distribution systems with so called uPMUs (micro-Phaser Measurement Units). GIG has also shown a very significant increase in the number of research projects and funding since early 2015.
In 2016 Michael Stadler received the 2013 US Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) from President Obama. President Obama and the US Department of Energy honored Dr. Stadler’s work on microgrids and modelling work with the Distributed Energy Resources Customer Adoption Model (DER-CAM) for the year 2013. The Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers is the highest honor bestowed by the United States Government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers.
In 2015 V2G-Sim won the R&D 100 award. V2G-Sim quantifies second-by-second energy use for any number of different plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) while driving under varying driving conditions, or while charging. The R&D 100 award widely recognized as the “Oscars of Invention” identify and celebrate the top technology products of the year.
The Distributed Energy Resources Customer Adoption Model is designed to help utilities minimize the cost of operating on-site generation and combined heat and power systems. Using state-of-the-art optimization techniques, it assesses distributed energy resources and loads in microgrids, finding the optimal combination of generation and storage equipment to minimize energy costs and/or CO2 emissions at a given site, while also considering strategies such as load-shifting and demand-response.
Demand Response Research Center (DRRC). The Demand Response Research Center (DRRC) planned and conducted multi-disciplinary research to advance demand response within Smart Grid infrastructures in California, the nation, and abroad.
The Future of GIG and Initiatives
The last decade has seen transformational changes, driven in large part by global climate change concerns and energy security needs. California has set ambitious sustainability goals targeting 50% penetration renewable generation by 2030, and these are proliferating nationally. New loads such as electric vehicles have potential to strain distribution assets. Utility scale renewable generation assets, in addition to retiring legacy assets (large wind farms) place increased demands on line capacity, straining transmission assets. Our electricity infrastructure is aging, threatening the reliability and efficiency we have enjoyed for decades. The centralized architecture of the legacy grid is challenged, and cannot accommodate these transformational changes.
A new paradigm for electricity grids is necessary, and components of this paradigm are nascent. The advent of ubiquitous and inexpensive sensing, the development of modern data-analytics methods, the emergence of controllable loads, strategic electrochemical storage, new power electronics technologies, all combine to offer a spectacular opportunity to re-engineer the electricity grid architecture. This future grid will be distributed and capable of supporting 50% or more of generation from distributed renewable resources, enabling our collective sustainable energy future. It will require bi-directional flow of power and information. At its core is a distributed, scalable, and robust grid operating system.
This vision of the grid for the year 2030 is at the core of our intellectual research agenda.
The new Initiative addresses key technical challenges in modernization of the national electric grid. Our team combines multidisciplinary expertise in grid integration, building technologies, data analytics, optimization techniques, electric vehicle modelling, and cyber security. This will enable the creation of the database archives and distributed analytics necessary to exploit and monetize streaming data from sensor networks. Sensing inadequacy in the distribution system is a key barrier to the development of our high renewable penetration DER future. Beyond investments in informative sensing infrastructure, our research agenda is focused on understanding how sensed data could be mined, integrated into control algorithms, visualized, and streamed to inform grid operators. The GIG team believes the key to California and the US’s clean energy future is high penetration of DER integration and optimized grid operation through coordination and planning, decentralized real-time control, and data analytics support.