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Distributed power systems

Our electricity system is undergoing a monumental transition from a centralized design based on fossil fuels to a distributed architecture based on renewable energy. Successfully navigating this requires reconceiving the grid as a distributed system, able to coordinate diverse resources and influence the deployment of capital by setting up appropriate incentive structures. We are collaborating with the MIT Energy Initiative to enable this by developing extensible, upgradable and formally verified controls for flexible power systems.

Related publications

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2020-12-09 / Conference paper
Improving system resilience through formal verification of transactive energy controls
Formal verification tools such as TLA+ allow errors to be uncovered through exhaustive exploration of reachable states, and are the gold standard for ensuring resilience in software systems. In particular, these methods can be used to identify error states emerging from precise interactions between multiple subsystems that would occur only after long periods of testing, operation, or stacked error conditions.
IEEE PES Transactive Energy Systems Conference (TESC) / 2020.12.09
Michael Hammersley , Francis M. O’Sullivan, Alan Ransil
2019-09-03 / Report
U.S. energy policy and market design
The U.S. bulk power system has an enormous number of actors: regulatory agencies (local, state, and federal), utilities (investor-owned, municipal, cooperatives, and power marketing administrations), operators (ISOs and RTOs), and customers.
2019-07-09 / Conference paper
A computable multilayer system stack for future-proof interoperability
The future decarbonized power grid will make increasing use of distributed energy resources (DERs) controlled using data collected at an extremely granular level compared to today’s coarse bulk power system models.
IEEE PES Transactive Energy Systems Conference (TESC) / 2019.07.09 / Minneapolis, MN
Alan Ransil , Edwin Fonkwe Fongang, Michael Hammersley , Ivan Celanovic, Francis O’Sullivan
2018-12-21 / Report
Microgrids
Microgrids are local installations typically connecting one or multiple generation sources with some set of loads. They range in size, from tiny off-grid solar home systems (SHSs) to power infrastructure spanning a university campus or military base.
2018-10-15 / Report
Smart grid pilot projects
There are thousands of smart grid pilot projects all around the world, having begun largely in the early 2000s. With the introduction of blockchain, and with the grid becoming more unpredictable and decentralized, several use cases are becoming apparent for blockchain.
2018-09-27 / Report
Price signals and demand-side management in the electric distribution and retail system
This report focuses on power distribution and retail — the ‘last few miles’ of electricity delivery — because this portion of the power grid in particular must be transformed if we are to decarbonize our energy system.
2018-08-23 / Report
Energy pricing
This first report focuses on the mechanisms by which electricity is priced in today’s power markets. Existing energy markets govern the infrastructure that any widely-used trading protocol must interface with in the short and medium terms.

Related posts

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2021-04-26 / Blog
Decentralized Energy Project recap
Three years ago, we set out to apply the decentralization ethos to the power grid — a complex, sprawling network with some parts dating back over a century. That was the beginning of the Decentralized Energy Project, an effort within AbstractionLab.
2021-01-29 / Blog
AbstractionLab Update: notes from the frontier
The independent researchers of the AbstractionLab tackle ambitious projects with huge potential to drive breakthroughs in computing, communication, and decentralization. They are the scout ship pilots exploring the farthest reaches of the adjacent possible.
2020-05-04 / Blog
Hello from the Decentralized Energy Project!
We’re two materials scientists here at Protocol Labs, and we’re working to improve the electricity grid. Why, you may be thinking, does a distributed file storage company have a project related to the energy grid?