Grid architecture is a discipline with roots in system architecture, network theory, control engineering, and software architecture, all of which we apply to the electric power grid. An architectural description is a structural representation of a system that helps people think about the overall shape of the system, its attributes, and how the parts interact.
Grid architecture serves many purposes, including the following:
- managing grid modernization complexity and assisting stakeholders in communicating about the grid
- identifying and removing structural barriers and defining essential limits to grid behavior
- creating new structure to enable new capabilities or strengthen grid properties such as resilience
- identifying gaps in theory, technology, and organization
- providing a framework for grid modernization activities.
Most of all, grid architecture provides insight to stakeholders so they can make informed decisions about grid modernization.
Acceptance and uptake
Grid architecture is a connected body of work that has found ever-increasing use in the electric utility industry, not just in the United States but worldwide. For example, the Electric Power Research Institute has adopted the PNNL grid architecture approach as the basis for its utility modernization roadmaps.
PNNL’s grid architecture approach is also used by electric utilities and utility regulatory commissions and boards in dozens of states and other countries around the world. Grid architecture helps stakeholders understand the issues of grid modernization from a structural standpoint and provides principles and reference models that they can adopt and then adapt to their unique circumstances.
Ultimately, grid architecture provides insights into how to structure the future electric system, with a rigorous structural approach and training to facilitate industry adoption.
For more details about grid architecture, including methods, tutorials, and advanced concepts, see the grid architecture webpage.