One particular conference session in San Antonio this week puts the “distribution” in DistribuTECH 2020. A couple of smart insiders from the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and a few utility insiders (from Duke, Salt River Project and Alabama Power) joined together to tell a standing-room-only audience a few insights into how modeling is evolving (and how utilities can get a handle on that evolution, even get in front of it a bit).
“Our industry really depends on complex network models,” said Randy Rhodes, Technical Executive at EPRI to start off the session. “And it’s getting harder and harder to manage that.”
Why? Well, all the changes in the grid, all the new connections and points, and the onslaught of more and more and more data—along with more coordination (and more access) required across the board.
“Our traditional thinking about the way in which we build the models for power flow is changing,” he added. “We’ve got many sources providing data into the applications and then many more applications [than in the past] that want to run that data.”
So, how hard can it be to build a good model?
According to Rhodes, it’s similar to one man climbing one mountain without a rope and trying to do the impossible (or what was thought to be impossible). But, behind that successful climb was practice that involved a team of peers and coaches and an entire background of collaboration—it just isn’t seen in the final story.
Additional members of the panel also emphasized that background collaboration and tapping into to expertise around your own utility, as well as from other utilities and vendors, too.
Along with that major bit of advice of talking and listening and making this almost a crowdsourced project (to get a handle on that modeling evolution), the panel made these additional suggestions:
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