SmartGrid Seminar: Trends in Electric Power Distribution System Analysis at PNNL

Trends in Electric Power Distribution System Analysis at PNNL
Thursday, May 24, 2018 - 1:30pm
Y2E2 111
Dr. Thomas McDermott (Pacific Northwest National Laboratory)
Abstract / Description: 

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) originated and continues to maintain one of the two leading open-source distribution system simulators, called GridLAB-D, which has been downloaded 80,000+ times world-wide. While it continues to improve core functionality, PNNL is placing more emphasis recently on GridLAB-D as part of a development platform, improving its interoperability and opening the software up to more customization by researchers. This talk will cover two ongoing open-source development projects, funded by the U. S. Department of Energy, that incorporate and extend GridLAB-D. One of these projects is also expected to contribute distribution feeder model conversion tools for a new California Energy Commission project headed by SLAC. Highlights of the talk will include:

  • Transactive energy simulation platform, at
  • GridAPPS-D application development platform, at
  • Evole GridLAB-D's co-simulation support from FNCS interface, to a multi-lab interface called HELICS compliant with Functional Mockup Interface (FMI):
  • Leveraging new capabilities for large-building simulation in JModelica, power flow analysis in OpenDSS, and transactive energy system agents in Python
  • Implementation and use of the Common Information Model (CIM) in a NoSQL triple-store database for standardized feeder model conversion
  • Comparison of different types of stochastic modeling for load and distributed energy resource (DER) output variability, and its impact on feeder model order reduction and state estimation
  • Special system protection example concerns on urban secondary networks with high penetration of DER


Tom McDermott is Chief Engineer, Integration Team, Electricity Infrastructure Group at PNNL, where he is responsible for modeling and simulation of electric power distribution systems, transactive energy systems, and DER integration. Before joining PNNL in 2016, he held several positions in consulting, software product development and academia. He is the only source code developer of the main branches of both OpenDSS and GridLAB-D for electric power distribution simulation. From 2009 to 2013, he contributed to amend and fully revise IEEE Standard 1547. His other technical interests include protective relaying, lightning protection, insulation coordination, electromagnetic transient simulation, high-voltage measurements, and computational electromagnetics. Tom is an IEEE Fellow and a licensed professional engineer in Pennsylvania. He has a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Virginia Tech, along with a B.S. and M. Eng. in Electric Power Engineering from RPI.