Decision-Support Software for Grid Operators

Default ARPA-E Project Image

Boston, Massachusetts
Project Term:
04/19/2013 - 03/31/2016

Technology Description:

The Boston University (BU) team is developing control technology to help grid operators more actively manage power flows and integrate renewables by optimally turning entire power lines on and off in coordination with traditional control of generation and load resources. The control technology being developed would provide grid operators with tools to help manage transmission congestion by identifying the facilities whose on/off status must change to lower generation costs, increase utilization of renewable resources and improve system reliability. The technology is based on fast optimization algorithms for the near to real-time change in the on/off status of transmission facilities and their software implementation.

Potential Impact:

If successful, BU’s technology could save between $1-2 billion in annual generation costs, enable more renewable energy to be incorporated into the grid and reduce or delay the need for new transmission investments.


A more efficient, reliable grid would be more resilient to potential disruptions from failure, natural disasters, or attack.


Enabling increased use of wind and solar power would result in a substantial decrease in carbon dioxide emissions in the U.S.—40% of which are produced by electricity generation.


Active grid management could ease transmission congestion which costs the U.S. an estimated $4-8 billion each year.


ARPA-E Program Director:
Dr. Timothy Heidel
Project Contact:
Dr. Pablo Ruiz
Press and General Inquiries Email:
Project Contact Email:


Polaris Systems Optimization
Northeastern University
Paragon Decision Technology
The Brattle Group
Newton Energy Group
Tufts University
PJM Interconnection

Related Projects

Release Date: