Grid of the Future: From Vertical To Flat

ARPA-E held a workshop on "Grid Of the Future: From Vertical to Flat" from Thursday, July 31 to Friday, August 1 at the JW Marriott Hotel in Washington, DC.

Workshop Objective

Development of technology for Plug-and-Play seamless integration of distributed generation, storage assets, and demand management technologies into reliable self-regulating grid.

Workshop Description

The “Grid of the Future: From Vertical to Flat” workshop convened thought leaders and experts in power systems, data analytics, and control systems to develop new ideas and paths forward for the development of disruptive technologies enabling optimal grid operation with increased adoption of distributed energy resources, while maintaining and possibly increasing grid reliability and reducing carbon footprint. Participants lent their expertise to discuss the introduction of real time monitoring and automation into all levels of the electric grid system to address adaptation to high bandwidth reliability critical events and to increase levels of renewables penetration. Participants helped ARPA-E develop energy efficiency, emission reduction, and reliability metrics that will define a successful research program and explore possible technology pathways.

ARPA-E was interested in technologies that enable increased renewables penetration by real time adaptation while maintaining and possibly increasing grid reliability and reducing cost for customers with smart technologies. Areas of interest and targeted outcomes included:

  • Identification of innovative distributed sensing and control architectures that use limited information and communication while optimally accommodating inherent intermittencies in loads and generation while guaranteeing reliability of the grid;
  • Identification of advanced technologies for off-line and on-line prediction of power generation patterns & consumer demand patterns;
  • Identification of innovative monitoring and advisory systems to enhance efficiency of real-time human in the loop system operation;
  • Identification of better approaches to utilities cost management (problems get addressed before they occur, less generation capacity required due to reduced peak demand; distribution circuit operating cost reduction);
  • Innovative approaches to cost effective management of distributed power generation and storage assets with multiple roles, and revenue streams; and
  • Identification of other innovative technologies that meet the performance objectives.

Approximately 50-60 experts from academia, national/federal labs, and industry participated. Information gained from the workshop will assist ARPA-E leadership in the development of potential programs and funding opportunities which target key technological roadblocks relevant to the ARPA-E mission. Proceedings from the meeting are summarized below.

Agenda: Thursday, July 31st – Friday, August 1st

Day 1

Welcome & Opening Remarks

Eric Rohlfing, ARPA-E

Workshop Backgrounds & Objectives

Sonja Glavaski, ARPA-E

Distributed Generation and DER Management: Technical Perspective Applications, Challenges, and Limitations

Jovan Bebic, GE

Distributed Generation and DER Management: Market Perspective Current Field View, Market Shortcomings, and Barriers

Paul De Martini, Newport Consulting Group

Decentralized Control: Benefits, Technologies, and Challenges

Santiago Grijalva, Georgia Institute of Technology

Grid of the Future: Towards Plug-N-Play Operation Model Architectures

John Doyle, Caltech

Day 2

The Grid is Flat:  Implications for Demand-side Modeling, Control, and Optimization

Tariq Samad, Honeywell

Integrating Distributed Resources – Information and Modeling Needs

Ralph Masiello, DNV GL


To ensure a diverse group of perspectives and a fruitful discussion, participation in the workshop was by invitation. 

This workshop was closed to the media.