ALSETLab Receives Support from Dominion Energy

by Mary Martialay on February 5, 2019

The ALSETLab at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has received an award of $100,000 from Dominion Energy, a Virginia-based company, to support research on flexible alternating current transmission systems.

ALSET stands for Analysis Laboratory for Synchrophasor and Electrical Energy Technology, but perhaps more importantly, it is “Tesla” – as in, Nikola Tesla – spelled backwards. The lab specializes in modeling and simulation of cyber-physical systems.

For this project, the ALSETLab, led by Luigi Vanfretti, an associate professor of electrical, computer and systems engineering at Rensselaer, will use tools that have not been in widespread use in power electronics to develop models and run simulations to better understand how to overhaul the aging power grid and integrate it with more renewable energy sources.

“The innovations from this Dominion Energy project have been a really good fit with ALSETLab’s efforts in power grid analysis, and the results are promising,” Vanfretti said of his team’s progress in building viable models. “The outcome is to have a portable model that will run multiple simulations and compare them to actual grid performance, providing predictive analytics in a software rich environment.”

Prototyping, software mapping and model testing will continue over the next calendar year as the research teams moves closer to finalizing a standardized model that will work in both the simulated and live environments.

John Wen, the head of the Rensselaer Department of Electrical, Computing, and Systems Engineering, said this collaboration between ALSETLab and Dominion Energy fits into the department’s lengthy history of industry engagement and responsiveness.

“Such interactions are crucial to the relevance and impact of our research and education programs,” Wen said.