ISO-NE collaborates with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory on high-performance computing project

ISO New England is teaming up with scientists from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) to find more efficient, reliable ways of integrating renewable resources into the grid. The collaboration is part of a pilot program called hpc4energy incubator, aimed at accelerating the development of energy technology using high-performance computing (HPC).

The ISO is one of six program participants selected by LLNL in March 2012 that will work with the national laboratory for a period of one year to demonstrate how HPC modeling and simulation benefit their respective projects.

Challenge: Dispatching Variable Resources

The end goal of the ISO New England’s project is to find efficient, reliable ways of integrating renewable resources, such as wind, into New England’s power grid. While renewables make up a growing percentage of the region’s electricity generation needs, their variable nature creates significant challenges for the grid operator. It is difficult to plan for real-time and day-ahead energy needs when a large percentage of generating resources might be offline because the wind isn’t blowing.

Ensuring reliable operation in the presence of increased uncertainty requires changes to the ISO’s existing procedures, most notably the unit commitment (UC) model used to dispatch generators.

To solve this problem, the ISO is developing a new UC model that features a state-of-the-art technique, known as robust optimization, to account for this uncertainty and variability. Relying on LLNL’s expertise in high performance computing, ISO New England will run simulations on the new robust UC solution and examine its economic and operational benefits to real-time dispatch and pricing. This collaborative project with LLNL will enable the ISO to conduct extensive studies on the solution’s performance in an accelerated timeframe, helping prepare New England’s grid for the integration renewable resources.

About Our Team

The team leading the project is the ISO’s Business Architecture and Technology group. These in-house experts are tasked with developing innovative tools and methodologies to keep the operation of New England’s power grid up to speed with cutting-edge industry advancements.

Focused on three main areas of responsibility—research and development, technology strategy, and smart grid strategy—the group’s core mission is to identify, define, and solve challenges with operating and administering today’s power grid and wholesale electricity markets.