Global-Optimal Power Flow (G-OPF)

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ITHACA, New York
Project Term:
03/18/2015 - 06/30/2016

Critical Need:

At the core of the U.S. electricity system is the grid—a complex, highly engineered network that simultaneously coordinates the production and delivery of power to customers. Individual electric transmission lines can safely carry only a certain amount of power. This leads to congestion on the electric grid, threatening reliability and costing billions of dollars each year. There is a critical need to modernize the way electricity is delivered from suppliers to consumers. Modernizing the transmission grid through comprehensive management techniques would tap unused capacity of transmission lines to reduce peak congestion and thus improve grid efficiency, safely increase the use of renewable energy, save money, and make the grid more resilient.

Project Innovation + Advantages:

Bigwood Systems is developing a comprehensive Optimal Power Flow (OPF) modelling engine that will enhance the energy efficiency, stability, and cost effectiveness of the national electric grid. Like water flowing down a hill, electricity takes the path of least resistance which depends on the grid network topology and on grid controls. However, in a complicated networked environment, this can easily lead to costly congestion or shortages in certain areas of the electric grid. Grid operators use imperfect solutions like approximations, professional judgments, or conservative estimates to try to ensure reliability while minimizing costs. Bigwood Systems’ approach will combine four separate analytical technologies to develop an OPF modeling engine that could markedly improve management of the grid. As part of this project, Bigwood Systems will demonstrate the practical applications of this tool in partnership with the California Independent System Operator (CAISO).


ARPA-E Program Director:
Dr. Timothy Heidel
Project Contact:
Prof. Hsiao-Dong Chiang
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