If the United States is to sustain its economic prosperity, quality of life, and global competitiveness, it must continue to have an abundance of secure, reliable, and affordable energy resources (DOE, 2015). In the case of electricity delivery, well-recognized challenges exist due to the increase in renewable energy sources, increase in consumer installation of distributed energy resources, greater system awareness (e.g., through smart meters and dynamic pricing), heterogeneities in the transmission system, and a technology space of new, useful tools that do not always interface well with each other (Overbye and Weber, 2001).
There have been many improvements in the technology and capability of the electric grid over the past several decades. New distributed sources of renewable energy are being integrated into the grid. New technology is improving stability and monitoring of disturbances, especially through the deployment of phasor measurement units that can report real-time information about the state of the grid and, in some cases, act to help stabilize the system (Sauer and Pai, 2007). New purchasing algorithms are assisting electricity transactions and enabling new (stochastic and intermittent) renewable energy sources to play a bigger role in the market. The connectivity of consumer leveraging information technology has improved.
Many of these advances to the grid depend on complex mathematical algorithms and techniques (Overbye, 2000). As the complexity of the grid has increased, the analytical demands have also increased. Developing a smarter next-generation grid is going to require novel system design and analyses that in turn depend on cutting-edge research in the mathematical sciences (Eto and Thomas, 2011).
The workshop summarized in this report was developed as part of an ongoing study of the Committee on Analytical Research Foundations for the Next-Generation Electric Grid. The study and workshop were both supported by the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability (OE), which leads DOE’s efforts to ensure a resilient, reliable, and flexible electricity system. The charge for the study is to identify critical areas of mathematical and computational research that must be addressed for the next-generation electric transmission and distribution system and to identify future needs and ways, if any, that current research efforts in these areas need to be adjusted or augmented. The study will also recommend how DOE can help build an appropriate multidisciplinary research community.
The workshop was an important means by which the study committee could gain additional insights to inform its work. That committee continues its work and plans to issue its final report early in 2016.
Accordingly, the study committee planned this workshop to involve experts from diverse communities, including mathematics, computation, and engineering, who could identify areas of inquiry where inroads by mathematical scientists could significantly advance the abilities of power systems engineers to analyze and control the electric grid. A subset of the study committee—consisting of Cynthia Rudin, Jeffery Dagle, Juan C. Meza, and Marija D. Ilic, and led by Robert J. Thomas—led the work of refining workshop topics, identifying speakers, and planning the workshop agenda. The workshop was held on February 11-12, 2015, at the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Center of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in Irvine, California. Approximately 65 participants, including speakers, members of the study committee, invited guests, and members of the public, participated in the 2-day workshop. The workshop was also webcast live. A complete statement of task is shown in Box 1.1.
This summary has been prepared by the workshop rapporteur as a factual summary of what occurred at the workshop. The study committee’s role was limited to planning and convening the workshop. The views contained in the report are those of individual workshop participants and do not necessarily represent the views of all workshop participants, the study committee, or the Academies.
In addition to the workshop summary provided here, materials related to the workshop can be found online at the website of the Board on Mathematical Sciences and Their Applications (http://www.nas.edu/bmsa), including the agenda, speaker presentations, archived webcasts of the presentations and discussions, and other background materials.
BOX 1.1 Statement of Task
A public workshop will be organized and held as part of the information gathering for the Analytical Research Foundations for the Next-Generation Electric Grid study, addressing the following question:
What are the critical areas of mathematical and computational research that must be addressed for the next-generation electric system?
An individually authored summary report of this workshop, addressing only that portion of the Statement of Task, will be prepared and released mid-way through the study.
Workshop presentations and discussions are summarized in subsequent chapters in sequential order. Chapter 2 sets the stage for current practice and future needs in electric grid research. Chapter 3 focuses on data and data analytics. Chapter 4 discusses optimization and control methods for a robust and resilient power grid. Chapter 5 focuses on uncertainty quantification and validation. Chapter 6 summarizes lessons learned and strategies moving forward from the workshop. Finally, Appendix A lists the registered workshop participants, Appendix B shows the workshop agenda, and Appendix C defines acronyms used in this report.