Skip to Main Content U.S. Department of Energy

Markets In Power

Customer utiltiy bills graph
Click for a larger image.

The next revolution in power systems simulation

Today's power systems simulation tools don't provide the analysis capabilities needed to study the forces driving change in the energy industry. The combined influence of fast-changing information technology, novel and cost-effective distributed energy resources (DER), multiple and overlapping energy markets and new business strategies result in high uncertainty about the success of these important innovations.

GridLAB-D™ — integrating a variety of grid modeling software

GridLAB-D is a new power distribution system simulation and analysis tool being developed by the U.S. Department of Energy at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, in collaboration with industry and academia. GridLAB-D provides valuable information to users who design and operate distribution systems, and to utilities that wish to take advantage of the latest energy technologies. An important capability in Pacific Northwest National Laboratory's Electricity Infrastructure Operations Center (EIOC), GridLAB-D incorporates the most advanced modeling techniques with high-performance algorithms to deliver the best in end-use modeling.

GridLAB-D is coupled with distribution automation models and software integration tools so it can be integrated with a variety of third-party data management and analysis tools. Its core has an advanced algorithm that coordinates simultaneously the millions of independent household appliances, including HVAC, ovens, refrigerators, dishwashers, each described by multiple differential equations. The advantages of this algorithm over traditional, finite difference-based simulators are: it handles extraordinary model complexity very quickly; it handles unusual situations much more accurately; it handles widely disparate time scales, ranging from sub-seconds to many years; and it is easy to integrate with new modules and third-party systems. The GridLAB-D system will include modules to perform the following system simulation functions:

  • Power flow and controls, including distributed generation and storage
  • End-use appliance technologies, equipment and controls
  • Consumer behavior including daily, weekly and seasonal demand profiles, price response and contract choice
  • Energy operations, such as distributions automation, load-shedding programs and emergency operations
  • Business operations, such as retail rate, billing and market-based incentive programs.

Looking at the interplay of the distribution system

At its simplest, GridLAB-D examines in detail the interplay of every part of a distribution system with every other. GridLAB-D does not require the use of reduced-order models for the aggregate behavior of consumer or electrical systems, which averts the danger of erroneous or misapplied assumptions. It becomes an essential tool that enables industry and government planners to design more effective and efficient programs to manage load growth and improve system reliability.

GridLAB-D downloads are now available.

About the EIOC




Additional Information

Research Areas

Deploying Technologies


Website Contact