Building Highly Detailed Synthetic Electric Grid Data Sets for Combined Transmission and Distribution Systems

Bryan Palmintier, Hanyue Li, Jessica Wert, Adam Birchfield, Thomas Overbye, Tomas Gomez San Roman, Carlos Domingo, Fernando Postigo Marcos, Pablo Martinez, Tarek Elgindy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus Citations


This paper introduces a methodology for building synthetic electric grid data sets that represent fictitious, yet realistic, combined transmission and distribution (TD) systems. Such data sets have important applications, such as in the study of the wide-Area interactions of distributed energy resources, in the validation of advanced control schemes, and in network resilience to severe events. The data sets created here are geographically located on an actual North American footprint, with the end-user load information estimated from land parcel data. The grid created to serve these fictional but realistic loads is built starting with low-voltage and medium-voltage distribution systems in full detail, connected to distribution and transmission substations. Bulk generation is added, and a high-voltage transmission grid is created. This paper explains the overall process and challenges addressed in making the combined case. An example test case, syn-Austin-TDgrid-v03, is shown for a 307236-customer case located in central Texas, with 140 substations, 448 feeders, and electric line data at voltages ranging from 120 V to 230 kV. Such new combined test cases help to promote high quality in the research on large-scale systems, particularly since much actual power system data are subject to data confidentiality. The highly detailed, combined TD data set can also facilitate the modeling and analysis of coupled infrastructures.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number9216129
Pages (from-to)478-488
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE Open Access Journal of Power and Energy
StatePublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 IEEE.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5D00-76301


  • integrated transmission and distribution
  • Power systems modeling
  • synthetic power grids


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