The E-COMP Initiative

The Energy System Co-Design with Multiple Objectives and Power Electronics (E-COMP) Initiative at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory is creating new capabilities that enable the optimized design and operation of energy systems subject to multiple objectives and with high levels of power electronic (PEL) driven devices. 

Houses and different energy sources like windmills, solar, and storage.

Illustration by Cortland Johnson

Our energy system is changing as more renewable generation such as wind and solar power are added to the system, along with accelerated deployment of responsive loads, electric vehicles, energy storage, and direct current (DC) transmission. As a result, a high percentage of electricity that is generated, transmitted, or consumed will pass through power electronics, which creates challenges for designing and operating a reliable, resilient power system.

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory’s E-COMP initiative, short for Energy System Co-Design with Multiple Objectives and Power Electronics, aims to create tools to inform design and operation of a highly integrated and diverse system for flexibility, efficiency, and electrification. 

The E-COMP initiative will establish Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) as a pioneer in the co-design of future energy systems by developing the following set of distinct, enduring, and multi-disciplinary technical capabilities:

  • Characterization and modeling of energy systems with high levels of PEL-driven systems to enable an understanding of stability boundaries and operation and control design issues.
  • Co-optimization of infrastructure investment (e.g., system selection, sizing) and operational control decisions to meet multiple objectives and constraints across multiple time scales.
  • Multi-entity simulation platform for understanding the impact of distributed optimization on the broader system and to enable value modeling, energy policy evaluation, and techno-economic approaches for future energy system operation. 
  • A library of use cases organized around a common energy system reference model. 
  • Methodologies for validation based on careful design of experiment procedures that minimize experimental cost via utilization of empirical data, physical systems, out-of-sample model-based tests.

These new capabilities will further cement PNNL’s recognized leadership in the Department of Energy (DOE) core focus areas of system engineering and integration and power systems and electrical engineering.