Synthetic Data for Power Grid R&D

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Champaign, Illinois
Project Term:
06/20/2016 - 12/31/2018

Technology Description:

The University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), with partners from Cornell University, Virginia Commonwealth University, and Arizona State University will develop a set of entirely synthetic electric transmission system models. Their 10 open-source system models and associated scenarios will match the complexity of the actual power grid. By utilizing statistics derived from real data, the team’s models will have coordinates based on North American geography with network structure, characteristics, and consumer demand that mimics real grid profiles. Smaller models will be based on smaller areas, such as part of a U.S. state, while the large models will cover much of the continent. All models and their scenarios will be validated using security-constrained optimal power flows, with parameters tuned to emulate the statistical characteristics of actual transmission system models.

Potential Impact:

If successful, the UIUC project will accelerate the development of new power system optimization algorithms by enabling more comprehensive and transparent testing. 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. Patrick McGrath
Project Contact:
Dr. Peter Sauer
Press and General Inquiries Email:
Project Contact Email:


Cornell University
Virginia Commonwealth University
Arizona State University

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