Data Repository for Power System Models

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Project Term:
07/13/2016 - 09/30/2020

Critical Need:

Several emerging issues, including the resiliency of electric power delivery during extreme weather events, expanding use of distributed generation, the rapid growth of renewable generation and the economic benefits of improved grid efficiency and flexibility, are challenging the way electricity is delivered. This grid of the future requires advances in transmission and distribution system management with algorithms to control and optimize how power is transmitted and distributed on the grid. However, the development of these systems has been hindered because the research community lacks high-fidelity, public, large-scale power system models that realistically represent current and evolving grid characteristics. Due to security and privacy concerns, much of the real data needed to test and validate new tools and techniques is restricted. To help drive additional innovation in the electric power industry, there is a need for grid models that mimic the characteristics of the actual grid, but do not disclose sensitive information.

Project Innovation + Advantages:

The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) has partnered with the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) to build a power system model repository, which will maintain and develop open-access power grid models and data sets. The DR POWER approach will review, annotate, and verify submitted datasets while establishing a repository and a web portal to distribute open-access models and scenarios. Through the portal, users can explore the curated data, create suitable datasets (which may include time variation), review and critique models, and download datasets in a specified format. Key features include the ability to collaboratively build, refine, and review a range of large-scale realistic power system models. For researchers, this represents a significant improvement over the current open availability of only small-scale, static models that do not properly represent the challenging environments encountered by present and future power grids. The repository and the web portal will be hosted in PNNL's Electricity Infrastructure Operations Center with access to petabytes of computing storage and load-balancing across multiple computing resources.

Potential Impact:

If successful, PNNL's project will accelerate the development of new power system optimization algorithms by enabling more comprehensive and transparent testing. The new open-access, self-sustaining repository for the storage, annotation, and curation of power systems models will also enable richer and more comprehensive research collaborations. New grid optimization algorithms could increase the grid’s resiliency and flexibility, improving its security during extreme weather and other threats. Moreover, the team’s technology could enable greater integration of renewable electricity onto the grid, which would help reduce reliance on carbon-emitting, fossil fuel generation. Finally, the project could lead to greater efficiencies for grid operators and power generators and therefore help reduce operating costs.


ARPA-E Program Director:
Dr. Richard O'Neill
Project Contact:
Dr. Mark Rice
Press and General Inquiries Email:
Project Contact Email:


National Rural Electric Cooperative Association

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