101 Grid­labd: Open Source Soft­ware for Smart Grid Net­work Stud­ies

The dis­tri­bu­tion of elec­tric sup­ply gen­er­ally faces a few prob­lems. The good news is that these prob­lems can be mod­elled math­e­mat­i­cally and stud­ied with­out any dan­ger to life and limb. Grid­labd is open source soft­ware which en­ables smart grid stud­ies.

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Economis­ing the op­er­a­tion of elec­tric­ity gen­er­a­tors is a prob­lem (called the ‘eco­nomic dis­patch prob­lem’) that has been faced since the 18th cen­tury. Math­e­mat­i­cal mod­els have been de­vel­oped to study such prob­lems. An­other prob­lem is the trans­mis­sion of power from the gen­er­a­tor to the cus­tomer, which is called ‘op­ti­mal power flow’. The third is the ‘unit com­mit­ment prob­lem’, which refers to find­ing the least-cost ON/OFF state of the avail­able power gen­er­a­tion re­sources to meet the elec­tri­cal load.

Economis­ing power sys­tem op­er­a­tions is still a prob­lem; hence, the term ‘smart grid’. A smart-grid is ca­pa­ble of mod­el­ling and study­ing each de­vice con­nected to the dis­tri­bu­tion sys­tem, which is highly in­ef­fi­cient com­pared to gen­er­a­tion and trans­mis­sion sys­tems. Therein lies the im­por­tance of Grid­labd soft­ware. Grid­labd is ca­pa­ble of mod­el­ling each and ev­ery com­po­nent in the power sys­tem with math­e­mat­ics run­ning in its core. It is pos­si­ble to sim­u­late time-se­ries char­ac­ter­is­tics from mi­cro-sec­onds to years. Hence, var­i­ous cases can be stud­ied on a com­puter be­fore ac­tual sys­tem im­ple­men­ta­tion. It helps in im­prov­ing the ef­fi­ciency of an ex­ist­ing sys­tem and the fu­ture ex­pan­sion of the dis­tri­bu­tion sys­tem. Fig­ure 1 (courtesy Wikipedia) shows a typ­i­cal power sys­tem net­work.

Grid­labd (GLD)

Grid­labd was de­vel­oped by the US De­part­ment of En­ergy

(DOE) at Pa­cific North­west Na­tional Lab­o­ra­tory (PNNL) un­der fund­ing from the Of­fice of Elec­tric­ity. While writ­ing this ar­ti­cle, the source code for Grid­labd was not avail­able in Ubuntu (am pre­sum­ing you’re a De­bian user). So the avail­able Red Hat pack­age man­ager (rpm) has been con­verted to De­bian (Deb). Grid­labd is the first sim­u­la­tion plat­form in which mod­ern en­ergy sys­tems are in­built. Time se­ries sim­u­la­tion and load mod­el­ling be­come eas­ier with Grid­labd from sub-sta­tion to cus­tomers (res­i­den­tial load). Grid­labd is an open source tool freely avail­able to any­one. It en­cour­ages col­lab­o­ra­tion with in­dus­try and academia. The BSD-style li­cence al­lows us to add or ex­tract our own mod­ules with­out com­pro­mis­ing the in­ter­nal in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty. The Web por­tal http://www.grid­labd.org/gld­por­tal has a GUI for quick real-time hands-on op­er­a­tion of Grid­labd.

In­stal­la­tion and how it works

Since Grid­labd is not read­ily avail­able for in­stal­la­tion in Ubuntu, we need to con­vert the avail­able rpm pack­age to Deb. The steps to be fol­lowed are given here.

Open a ter­mi­nal and down­load the pack­age

hithu@linux:$ wget https://source­forge.net/projects/ grid­lab-d/files/grid­lab-d/Last%20sta­ble%20re­lease/ grid­labd-3.2.0-1.x86_64.rpm.

Af­ter down­load­ing, you can check the down­loaded file in your home direc­tory. To con­vert it to a Deb file, you need to in­stall the alien pack­age, as fol­lows:

hithu@linux:$ sudo apt-get in­stall alien

Con­vert the rpm to Deb by us­ing the com­mand given be­low:

hithu@linux:$ alien grid­labd−3.2.0−1.x8664.rpm

Exit the ter­mi­nal. Right-click and open the newly gen­er­ated De­bian file us­ing the Ubuntu soft­ware cen­ter pack­age man­ager to com­plete the in­stal­la­tion.

Check the in­stal­la­tion by us­ing the fol­low­ing com­mand:

hithu@linux:$ grid­labd --ver­sion

Grid­LAB-D 3.2.0-5368 (Jo­joba) 64-bit LINUX RE­LEASE

To try a sim­u­la­tion of res­i­den­tial tem­per­a­ture vari­a­tions for a year, save the code given be­low as res­i­den­tial.glm us­ing a text ed­i­tor (gedit):

clock { start­time '2017-02-01 00:00:00 UTC'; stop­time '2018-02-01 00:00:00 UTC';

} mod­ule res­i­den­tial; mod­ule tape; ob­ject house { ob­ject recorder { prop­erty air_tem­per­a­ture; file tem­per­a­ture.csv;



In ter­mi­nal, run the file:

as­grid­labd res­i­den­tial.glm

To see out­put:

more tem­per­a­ture.csv

2017-02-01 00:00:00 UTC,+72.4767 2017-02-01 01:00:00 UTC,+73.5292 2017-02-01 02:00:00 UTC,+74.1789 2017-02-01 03:00:00 UTC,+74.7188 2017-02-01 04:00:00 UTC,+75.1863 2017-02-01 05:00:00 UTC,+75.6680 2017-02-01 05:24:12 UTC,+76.0000 2017-02-01 05:29:10 UTC,+73.9968 2017-02-01 06:00:00 UTC,+75.9057 2017-02-01 06:02:18 UTC,+76.0006 2017-02-01 06:07:40 UTC,+73.9994 2017-02-01 06:25:12 UTC,+76.0006 2017-02-01 06:30:33 UTC,+73.9961 2017-02-01 06:48:21 UTC,+76.0001...

Hence, you have the re­sult of tem­per­a­ture vari­a­tions in a typ­i­cal house with hourly in­ter­vals, for a year. It is pos­si­ble to change the interval, add the lo­ca­tion of me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal data, mea­sure var­i­ous pa­ram­e­ters, add more im­plicit de­vices, and much more.

There are many mod­ules avail­able within this soft­ware:

grid­labd --mod­help res­i­den­tial

The mod­ule given above the list of the var­i­ous classes and ob­jects pos­si­ble in a res­i­den­tial sim­u­la­tion. For ex­am­ple, class ‘freezer’ has…

class freezer { par­ent res­i­den­tial_en­duse; class res­i­den­tial_en­duse { load­shape shape; en­duse load; // the en­duse load de­scrip­tion com­plex en­ergy[kVAh];

// the to­tal en­ergy con­sumed since the last me­ter read­ing

com­plex power[kVA];

// the to­tal power con­sump­tion of the load

Fig­ure 1: Typ­i­cal power sys­tem net­work

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