January 27, 2020

PNNL and Other National Labs Share Grid Modernization Work at DistribuTECH International

Exhibits in San Antonio will feature technology utilities can use today for a more resilient, secure, and flexible grid

DistricuTECH International

Power grid researchers and experts from PNNL and the Grid Modernization Laboratory Consortium will be sharing their work at exhibits #1963 and #1964 at DistribuTECH International, one of the largest grid modernization events in North America.  

Photo Courtesy of Clarion Events

The nation’s power grid is undergoing more disruptive change than at any time since its inception more than a century ago. Integrating more distributed energy resources (DER), protecting the grid from cyber threats and natural disasters, and meeting consumer expectations for reliability and service are some of the key challenges utilities and grid operators face.

These are the same grid modernization challenges that PNNL and the broader network of national laboratories are working to address through groundbreaking research and development efforts. PNNL, along with the 13 other labs represented through the Grid Modernization Laboratory Consortium (GMLC), will share their work at DistribuTECH International, January 28-30, in San Antonio, Texas. DistribuTECH International is one of the largest grid modernization events in North America, attracting more than 10,000 people, including hundreds of utilities and grid technology companies.

“With sponsorship from the Department of Energy, PNNL and the other national laboratories of the GMLC work on the nation’s behalf to develop technologies that enable a more resilient, secure, and flexible power grid,” said Carl Imhoff, who heads up PNNL’s Electricity Infrastructure market sector and is also co-chair of the GMLC. “A lot of our research and development work is focused on the future needs of the grid 10 years from now. But many people don’t realize that we also have a broad portfolio of solutions that can be used by utilities and technology vendors today to address key challenges and create opportunities. That’s our key message to DistribuTECH attendees.”

PNNL experts will be on hand in booth #1964 to discuss grid modernization technologies available for licensing, including the following:   

  • Cybersecurity Framework (CSF) Tool: PNNL’s CSF technology enables utilities and their associated vendors to identify, detect, and respond to emerging cyber threats. The tool also includes a game simulator that provides interactive training.
  • Coordinated Real-Time Sub-Transmission Voltage Control Tool (CReST-VCT): PNNL’s CReST-VCT technology creates a new approach for managing solar power integration. The tool determines how best to increase power system resilience for any part of the grid—while maintaining voltage stability—by coordinating the operation of DERs in real time.
  • Transformative Remedial Action Scheme Tool (TRAST): Applying machine learning capabilities that PNNL developed, TRAST automates the process of identifying and evaluating remedial action schemes used by electric utilities to plan for specific contingencies and emergencies.

These tools and dozens of other PNNL grid modernization technologies available for licensing can be viewed at availabletechnologies.pnnl.gov.

GMLC exhibit features national labs’ collaborative grid modernization R&D work

Across the aisle from PNNL’s exhibit, the national labs of the GMLC will share their work at booth #1963, focused on technologies developed to plan and operate more resilient distribution systems.

“Many of these GMLC-developed technologies utilize artificial intelligence, machine learning, and other new approaches to help utilities improve situational awareness and utilize grid edge assets—such as DERs, microgrids, and controllable loads—to operate a more resilient distribution system,” said Imhoff. “The GMLC labs work as a team, building strong partnerships with industry stakeholders, to focus on crosscutting challenges to maximize impact.”

Sharing expertise on key industry topics

In addition to exhibits, PNNL industry experts and researchers will speak at DistribuTECH International on timely topics such as grid energy storage valuation, consumer engagement in the digital age, and next-generation cybersecurity protections. Talks include the following:

  • “Powering a Greener and More Resilient Grid with Emerging Technology from Department of Energy National Laboratories,” with Peter Christensen, PNNL senior commercialization manager, Tuesday, January 28, 3:45 p.m. to 4:15 p.m., Initiate Booth #558.
  • “Pacific Northwest National Laboratory’s Industrial Acceptance Program: How the Use of Analytics Can Improve the Value Proposition for Energy Storage in the United States,” with Patrick Balducci, PNNL chief economist, Wednesday, January 29, 1:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m., Booth #1010, Exhibit Floor.
  • “Cracking the Consumer Engagement Code: Aggregation, Distributed Intelligence and a Solid Value Proposition, All Connected by a Transactive Network,” with Nora Wang, PNNL staff engineer, Wednesday, January 29, 2:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., Room 212AB.
  • A Collaborative Approach to Protecting Critical Energy Infrastructure from Cyberthreats,” a panel on next-generation cyber protections, featuring Mark Hadley, PNNL cybersecurity researcher, Thursday, January 30, 10:30 a.m. to noon, Room 213AB.


About PNNL

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory draws on its distinguishing strengths in chemistry, Earth sciences, biology and data science to advance scientific knowledge and address challenges in sustainable energy and national security. Founded in 1965, PNNL is operated by Battelle for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, which is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States. DOE’s Office of Science is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit https://energy.gov/science. For more information on PNNL, visit PNNL's News Center. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.