Smart-DS: Synthetic Models for Advanced, Realistic Testing: Distribution Systems and Scenarios

Research output: NRELPresentation


The explosion of new ideas for distributed energy resources and advanced distribution grid algorithms faces a critical challenge: how can one effectively develop and evaluate these breakthrough technologies without an adequate set of power systems network, load, and resource data to test against? Today's open test systems, particularly for distribution systems, are tiny and incomplete; and though with enough effort, obtaining utility data under NDA can overcome scale challenges, the results can't be openly shared, preventing fair comparison. The Smart-DS project-led by NREL in partnership with MIT, Universidad Pontificia Comillas, CYME, and EDD-is working to overcome this gap by generating multiple large-scale, open, synthetic, distribution systems that are realistic but not real. These datasets go beyond a single medium voltage feeder (~1000 customers) to cover entire metropolitan areas and their surrounds with up to hundreds of feeders and millions of customers, complete with low voltage customer connections and high voltage sub-transmission. This scale allows adequate testing and analysis of not just local controls and advanced DERs, but also multiple substation interactions, optimized switching, full-scale distribution-OPF, and more. To accompany these datasets, the project is also building a rich set of scenario generation tools that can be used for distribution and transmission systems alike. This includes automated, spatially aware access to world-class, high-resolution solar, wind, and weather data: forward looking generation mixes: and highly configurable DER, load, climate, outage, control-scheme, and other scenarios. We will also highlight DiTTo, an exciting open-source, multi-way distribution dataset transformation tool for many-to-many format translation with scenario, merge/split, and many other manipulation capabilities.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages26
StatePublished - 2018

Publication series

NamePresented at the ARPA-e Energy Innovation Summit, 13-15 March 2018, Washington, D.C.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/PR-5D00-71099


  • DERs
  • distributed energy resources
  • distribution grid
  • power systems network


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