November 10th – 11th, 2020


The Center for Advanced Power Engineering and Research (CAPER) is a collaboration among three universities and industry members focusing on research and educational needs in the electric power industry in the southeast region of the US. The Industry Advisory Board (IAB), composed of industry members, meets twice per year with CAPER researchers and students to present current industry topics, update sponsored projects and take part in discussions about the Center’s research and education activities.

We wish to thank Dr. Johan Enslin, CAPER Center Co-Director at Clemson University, for hosting this virtual meeting. Special thanks go to Shannon Jenkins for all the many arrangements that were required for this meeting. We also wish to thank our Industry Members, Faculty and students for participating in the tutorial.


The meeting took place virtually using Zoom.


For the Tuesday Tutorial – 14 Industry, 6 Faculty, 16 students. For the General Meeting – 28 Industry, 18 Faculty and 28 Students.

Tuesday November 10, 2020 Tutorial – Integrated Planning Tools

In this three-hour tutorial we heard from four presenters describing different tools available today for performing integrated resource planning. Today with distributed and variable resources, the IRP landscape is changing. No longer can studies be performed only for summer and winter peaks, now studies need to be performed on an hourly or 8760 basis.

The first speaker, Roger Dugan of EPRI provided an overview of an EPRI developed tool OpenDSS. OpenDSS can perform the time interval studies required today for integrated resource planning. Being mostly a distribution tool, larger systems including transmission networks can be modeled and studied using OpenDSS.

Next we heard from Shuangshuang Jin, formerly of PNNL and now at Clemson University, about GRIDLAB-D a tool developed by PNNL to perform integrated resource planning studies. Brian Fitzsimons of GridUnity followed up with a case study performed for PG&E.

The last speaker, Wayne Dias of Siemens, described the functionality of their product PSS®SINCAL.

General Meeting:

The meeting started at 1:00 pm with a Welcome and Introductions by CAPER Steering Committee Chair Steve Whisenant.

Keynote Address – Trends Affecting Integrated Resource Planning: A Perspective from FPL – by Steve Sim of FPL

Dr. Sim has worked in the field of integrated resource planning for 30 years and he directs the integrated resource planning work for Florida Power & Light and Gulf Power. His presentation provided his view of a few electric utility trends that have been occurring during the last 10 years and which are continuing today. These trends have influenced, and continue to influence, integrated resource planning. Perhaps the most important trend has been a steady decline in a variety of utility costs. Examples of these declining costs include lower natural gas costs; lower installed $/kW costs for combined cycle units, combustion turbines, solar, and battery storage, plus increasing higher fuel conversion efficiency for gas-fueled generation.  The primary impact of this trend of lower utility costs has been that utility customers have benefited greatly from the lower costs which have helped to keep electric rates lower than they otherwise would have been. However, there have also been secondary impacts as well. A good example of this is that the cost-effectiveness of utility DSM programs has steadily declined as a result of the fact that these utility costs, that could potentially be lowered through DSM, are now much lower than they were previously. Another major trend that is often overlooked by people who work outside of resource planning is the very large impact that energy-efficiency codes and standards are having on utility load forecasts. These codes and standards are significantly lowering both MW and GWh growth forecasts which both lowers the need for new resources and removes several utility DSM options that are now addressed directly by the codes and standards.

After the presentation, Dr. Sim was asked a series of questions by the attendees. Among his responses to those questions are the following four. First, he sees the fuel transition from coal and oil to renewables and storage as a steady, but relatively gradual transition during which natural gas will continue to be used for several years. This is driven by several factors including the enormous magnitude of utility generation that would need to be replaced and the obligation to continually maintain reliable service for customers.  Second, dynamic pricing is a logical option for utilities to analyze and consider, but it is not a strong contender for the FPL system. This is because there is little difference in marginal energy costs throughout a day or year for FPL’s system due to the very high fuel conversion efficiency of the FPL generating fleet.  Third, one demand flexibility issue that is currently of interest for virtually all utilities is that of EV charging and how to help manage potentially very large impacts to peak load. Fourth, FPL does not have a large amount of DER. There are three primary reasons for this. First, economies of scale for both fossil and renewable generation favor larger generation facilities. Consequently, in order to keep electric rates low, FPL builds larger scale generation. Second, FPL has been very successful to-date in keeping electric rates low through a variety of approaches. A good rule of thumb is that the lower the electric rates are, the lower the interest is across the entire customer group in acquiring their own generation. Third, Florida has neither an RPS mandate nor a state income tax which would allow tax credits for DER.

Session I – Tools and Resources for Integrated Planning led by Johan Enslin, CAPER Center Co-Director

The first presentation by Wayne Dias, Siemens was titled “Integrated T&D Modeling” Wayne shared the functionality of his product PSS®SINCAL.

Next, Kate Konschnik, Duke University, shared her thoughts on “Regulatory Reform to Support Integrated Planning.” Kate discussed three policy levers: Planning at both transmission and distribution levels, Incentives such as performance ratemaking and Directives to include EV and DER.

Jeremy Twitchell, PNNL, closed out the session with his presentation on ” Non-Traditional Solutions.” Such options include decarbonization, changing customer preferences, grid modernization, and sub-hour planning models.

Session II – CAPER Project Updates led by Mike Mazzola, CAPER Center director

Base Projects

PD-04: Development and Demonstration for a Power Electronics Assisted Distribution Voltage Regulator
UNCC/NCSU – Tiefu Zhao

DM-02: Identification and Mitigation of Coordinated Attacks on Distributed Energy Management
UNCC/NCSU – Badrul Chowdhury

PG-01: Distributed Energy Storage and EV Holding Capacity Value Proposition Development
Clemson/UNCC – Johan Enslin

PG-02: Incorporating EV and EV Charging Stations into Integrated Resource Planning
UNCC/Clemson – Linquan Bai

PU-01: Comparative Power Flow Analysis and Power Flow Quality Criteria
UNCC/NCSU – Valentina Cecchi

 Day Two:

The meeting started at 8:30 am with highlights of day one and objectives for the day by CAPER Steering Committee Chair, Steve Whisenant.

Session III – The Future of Integrated Planning led by Steve Whisenant, Duke Energy

Drew Clarke of Duke Energy began the session with a presentation on “Integrated System Optimization Planning (ISOP).” Traditional Resource Planning was mostly preformed in silos for Generation, Transmission and Distribution. However, today those lines overlap, and a systems approach must be considered on a very different time interval. Duke Energy is striving to develop a 10-year hourly forecast for each distribution circuit. Also, non-traditional solutions must be brought into the planning process.

Next Lulu Young, GridUnity, presented Integrated “Thinking for Integrated Planning.” There are many more challenges in the planning process today due to DER, Grid Dynamics, Call for transparency and Response time to stakeholders.

Will McNamara, Sandia National Lab, closed the session with a presentation on “The Role of Storage in Integrated Planning.” Energy storage is one of the most important issues in the energy industry today. Traditional Integrated Resource Planning models do not consider energy storage. Storage provides several benefits such as it can act as both generation and load; it is flexible to location and can be mobile. However, the industry needs better tools to effectively evaluate the benefits of storage.

Session IVYoung Professionals in Planning and Operations led by Steven Whisenant, Duke Energy

In this session, we heard from four graduates of CAPER Universities that have been in the workforce for around five years:

Cara Chacko – Duke Energy (UNC Charlotte)
Terrance Harris – Dominion Energy (Clemson)
Kat Sico – Duke Energy (NC State)
Sherif Abdelrazek – Duke Energy (UNC Charlotte)

They shared the positives aspects of their education that prepared them to be successful early in their careers. They also shared gaps in the educational process and shared areas for improvement. Common among the four presenters were: (1) strong focus on the “fundamentals” (2) Real-world knowledge (3) co-op and internships. Areas for improvement include: (1) Soft-skills development (2) Importance and preparation for FE and PE (3) Real-world and relevant activities and problems (4) Introduction to Standards and Codes used in the industry.

Session V – CAPER Project Updates led by Mike Mazzola, CAPER Center Director          

Enhancement Project

EHP-07-PD: Integrated T&D Tool
Three Universities – David Lubkeman

Session VI 2021 Research Planning Session led by Steven Whisenant, Duke Energy

The 2021 Research Planning Session was broken into five breakout groups with each one covering a different research theme.

Group 1: Power Delivery Infrastructure and Systems led by Drew Clarke, Duke Energy

Group 2: Energy Policy, Markets and Economics led by Mesut Baran, NC State

Group 3: Data Management, Analytics and Security led by Klaehn Burkes, SRNL

Group 4: Power Generation, Storage and Integration led by Johan Enslin, Clemson

Group 5: Power Utilization and Energy Efficiency led by Ning Lu, NC State

All five groups provided a summary:

Group 1 (PD)

Potential Research Topics:

  • Equipment Integration – How to combine inverters, panels, transformers, power plant controllers, etc.
  • Study Tools – Include dynamics, T&D together, automated for different types of studies
  • Reliability/Resiliency – How to improve with data
  • Artificial Intelligence in controls
  • Weather Impacts – Can we combine data to predict impacts
  • Asset condition monitoring
  • Predictive asset management program
  • Fault limitation and locating
  • Protecting cyber assets
  • Cost-effective control systems to provide automation for resiliency
  • Planning resiliency into the system
  • Develop alternative restoration strategies
  • Assess and compare accuracy of digital models
  • Impacts of EMP on the grid
  • Alternatives to SF6

Discussion Results:

Minimum viable power system model for accurate power flow solution.

  • Power flow software has the capability to enter a vast number of parameters.
  • Not all of these are likely to have the same impact on the solution quality.
  • Which of the parameters are necessary to get a valid solution, which lead to substantially better results, and which don’t contribute much?
  • Run power flow models with a variety of parameters entered and review results.
  • Different model uses should be considered (steady state, short circuit, dynamic, etc.)
  • Categorization of most important parameters for each type of model.

Determining if it is possible to solve a subset of all 8760 simulations to still capture the necessary data.

  • Want to look at viable states of multiple devices on a single circuit and what the next action would be given these states.
  • As this gets expanded to multiple years, multiple forecasts, etc., the data set becomes large.
  • Is there a subset of the larger problem that could be used to maintain an accurate view of the system without running all possibilities?
  • Likely less dependent on time, more dependent on a set of features (to be determined) that must be similar to be able to group.

Resilience/storm hardening – Dynamic microgrids, evaluating new normally open circuit ties and augmenting with local DER

  • How to quickly diagnose and locate faults, including under a high DER scenario
  • Hardening the system becoming part of long-term planning.
  • Looking at additional benefits of distributed technologies and their system hardening value as part of the valuation.
  • High Impact Low Frequency Events – Exhaustive contingency scenario analysis
  • Are there any stacked benefits that could be captured as a byproduct of system hardening?
  • Other types of events such as GMD.

Coordinating 8760 analyses between neighboring entities

  • Consistent forecasting approach to derive 8760 models.
  • What parameters in the cases need to be coordinated (minimum, best, etc.)?
  • Would model building or studies need to be automated?
  • Developing common tools and study methodologies.
  • Model maintenance and validation – Can the model be reduced/equivalized and still maintain a valid study?
  • How can you process the larger amount of results into a set of data that is meaningful for the studier?

Criteria/study process for non-traditional solutions versus traditional solutions.

  • Integrated study approach.
  • Development of tools and criteria for understanding what type of solution is best for each need.
  • Economics as well as reliability
  • Time horizon for solutions – is this changing with system changes?
  • When studying solutions, the traditional vs non-traditional solutions have a different lifespan and effectiveness range.
  • As the grid changes more frequently and dynamically, is there a way to study these on a comparable basis without having to assume equal lifespan?
  • Assumptions around duration and sizing – Traditional solutions are typically available 24×7 and are standardized sizes. Non-traditional solutions are more tailored.  What is the right target for sizing?

Impact of increased power electronics on the distribution system, including hardware tests.

  • Advance power electronics to medium voltage solution and validation. Designs change as solutions are sized up, so this could advance TRL.
  • Verify system impact in hardware
  • All 3 universities have medium voltage test labs. Test hardware at university to push to TRL 6/7.  Then move to industry to further advance TRL.
  • Manufacturers want a business case; most utilities don’t want serial no. 1. How can CAPER help validate technologies.  Focus on synergy of academia, manufacturers, utilities.

Group 2 (EP)

Discussion Objectives:

While most utilities in the southeast region of the US have stayed with the traditional structure of vertical integration of the generation and delivery of electric energy, the region needs to be aware of what is occurring in the industry. Research into to renewable integration, planning and operations in the current structure must not be overlooked. Along with the rest of the industry, southeast utilities will be facing challenges of adapting to new state and federal regulatory requirements that address climate change and energy security.

Potential research topics:

  • New business models for utility as new technologies (DER, demand response etc.) emerge
  • Storage: Business case and regulatory issues
  • Micro-grid:  Business case and regulatory issues
  • Pricing schemes for DER and demand response
  • High Impact low probability events: economic and policy aspects
  • Techno-economic assessment of a product: vendor and utility perspective
  • Transactive energy: Economic and regulatory issues
  • Alternative business models for integrating demand resources that offer market-based options for integration
  • Impacts of net zero carbon emissions strategies
  • Consideration for Performance-based Ratemaking – energy provider profits decoupled from costs and tied directly to performance standards

Group 3 (DM)

Discussion Objectives:

New technologies and the wide-spread application of small-scale component sensors and data collection equipment have greatly increased the amount of available data, but the challenge is how to manage, use and act on huge amount of system data. This research focus area offers the opportunities to study the increasing amount of available data and identify new phenomena that can lead to the development of new devices and operating practices. This theme of research will focus on innovative data management, visualization, data mining, forecasting, decision-support and optimization approaches. In addition, performance metrics and other advanced analytics will be developed.

Potential research topics:

  • Exploring the value of emerging data sources, such as Phasor Measurement Unit, satellite data, weather stations, and social media.
  • Data security, reliability and adequacy criteria
  • Real-time security assessment, preventive and corrective control
  • Cyber-security, wide-area monitoring, control and real-time measurements
  • Estimation and validation of theoretical models using econometric methods, financial engineering approaches, statistical analysis and artificial intelligence
  • State Estimation under disrupted conditions
  • Operator situational awareness
  • Asset Health Systems for predictive asset management programs
  • Better understanding of data needs and how in incorporate into system operations
  • Interdependency between communication infrastructure and ability to gather information about state of the system
  • New operations applications using wealth of new data measurements employed throughout the system
  • Fundamental understanding of how information should be collected, distributed, compressed and aggregated for an information hierarchy for real-time operations under uncertainty
  • Challenges and opportunities of new technologies, such as cloud computing and high-performance computing
  • Real-time database for T&D models
  • Data validation and dealing with uncertainty

Results of Discussion:

Software and Data Collection

  • Power flow T&D
  • Realtime T&D
  • Benefit analysis through performance metrics
  • Forecasting for cost benefit analysis

Predictive Maintenance

  • Tool that pulls from different historian data that will allow for AI tools developed to perform predictive maintenance on critical components
  • LPTs – tap changers, faults, voltage, current, load flow

Contingency Analysis for Communication Data

  • Similar to traditional n-1 on power flows
  • Build an n-1 on communication to SCADA from RTUs and RTACs

Architecture for Implementation for Distributed Smart Devices

  • DER
  • Smart Thermostats
  • AMI

Could we bring in utility perspective to show how they are securely implementing Smart Devices

  • Never really had an IT or network perspective of how utilities are doing this
  • We have heard of the benefit from a power system state
  • Discuss safely implementing controlling smart thermostats

Group 4 (PG)

Discussion Objectives:

Societal changes have put much pressure on conventional means of generating electricity. These developments will create additional challenges on current generation through increased cycling, ramping and assuring reserve requirements. New types of resources are anticipated to grow in their market size, including energy storage and price-responsive demand resources that are more flexible than traditional response programs.  New generation sources are being developed with a heavy emphasis on renewables such as photovoltaic (PV) solar systems and wind-based generation. However, these sources present many challenges to the reliability and operation of the power grid due to their intermittency and ultimately in uncertainties in their capacity. In this theme of research, optimal strategies to manage distributed resources with integrated storage will be developed and demonstrated.

 Potential research topics:

  • Modeling of Distributed CHPs, PV and Storage
  • Demand Response and Virtual Storage
  • O&M and life cycle concerns of energy storage – SOC, SOH.
  • Control and Operations Center visibility of Distributed Generation and behind meter generation and storage
  • Integration of storage – location, sizing and performance optimization
  • Fast resource forecasting
  • Evaluate storage on business case and stacked values
  • SCADA and EMS integration to DG and storage on distribution systems.
  • Optimizing stack values – the value stream for energy storage
  • HPC vs Distributed Computing
  • Sizing, location and best value of energy storage, including pump-storage upgrades
  • New power system control strategies that will enable appropriate response to operating challenges arising from use of new resources
  • Innovative power system operating practices that promote efficient use of the power grid under uncertainty
  • New tools for analysis and decision-making to account for significant uncertainties in long-term planning
  • Expand system resiliency by integration of new resources into planning and operations

Attending members: (12 members)

  • Ali Arzani – PhD candidate at Clemson, Vinayagomoorthy, comp intelligence on principle side converters
  • Cong Sheng Huang – Battery pack level SOC, SOH, estimation
  • Mo-Yuen Chow – Prof at NCSU, working on energy storage on batteries and microgrid energy management system
  • Joe Lavalliere – working at Duke, recently transferred to renewable and DERS energy group
  • Kat Sico – System operations ENGg at Duke Energy progress, at Raleigh ECC close to NCSU
  • Ken Crawford – PhD Student at FREEDM, Dr. Baran, cybersecurity of power systems
  • Moazzam Nazir – PhD candidate at Clemson, smart transformer design
  • Roozbeh – PhD Student at UNC Charlotte, working with Valentina, decentralized DERs optimization
  • Sarah Kutcher – Clemson grad, working for Duke, joined the ISOP group
  • Sujay Kaloti – PhD student at UNC Charlotte, integrated T&D system research focus
  • Johan Enslin – Prof at Clemson University
  • Bharat Balagopal – PostDoc at NCSU

Summary of results:
Location and sizing of ESS

  • Substation or elsewhere?

Control integration

  • SCADA Integration / EMS
  • Locally controlled / operated instead of centralized

Value proposition of ESS for utilities

  • Ancillary services

How do we really plan and operate ESS as part of the integrated resource and T&D planning?

  • People’s behavior impact on EMS

Alternate Energy Storage Options -> H2 (from Nuclear, renewables, natural gas) for improved efficiency

New generation options – High towers for wind energy

New ideas based on the work that has been done:

  • Bharat – What is important for the utility for storage and renewables
  • Joe – lots of emphasis on Scada and EMS integration for storage and POC for getting it working at the Asheville, Rockhill battery site, integrating the storage system with the calculation engine, lot of work to get it up and running and stable, optimizing the stack value, same group as Sherif, sizing the battery is important to get the best bang for our buck, limited tools to make that judgement call for sizing, currently using historical data for projection, lot of research can be done to use metrics instead of judgement and historical load and outage reports, lot of work to be done for optimizing the value, 1000s of feeders and determining which feeders are best for this, planners come up and ask about putting ESS to lines but it could be seen with data and not just wait for planner to come and tell us about it.
  • Kat – Duke is going to double renewable portfolio by 2025, lot of pumped storage in western Carolina, 75MW of batteries in the next year, looking for other use cases, location and utilization. Lot of it is focused on batteries, going for carbon free by 2050. the IC units need to be fluctuated to adjust generation along with hydro but that is also limited based on location. Integrating into the EMS, coordinated central control? Stacked benefits? Is it something we can replace when we need reactive support, reduce additional cost when we need to add more reactive support. On the distribution side, can reactive power be utilized when there is little active power generation?
  • Johan – Other storage tech? – hydrogen energy storage in FL, 20MW project? For feeding the fuel lines of the CHP generators – basically using existing infrastructure of pipelines, using mixed natural gas and hydrogen. What are thoughts on H2 as a storage medium? Make it more efficient, less reliant on natural gas rather than increasing the battery size? Increasing the fuel efficiency instead of just adding more? H2 with electrolyzes from nuclear, solar and wind.

Group 5 (PU)

Discussion Objectives:

The focus of this theme is to improve the efficiency, visibility, and controllability of end-use energy consumption. Also, technology development will have to consider customer’s acceptance and participation. Therefore, this theme will address the psychological and social behavioral influences and human-machine interactions. Areas to address are improving customer participation and customer satisfaction of demand response and energy efficiency programs, evaluating possible behavioral changes when customers adapt a new technology and evaluating if those changes can sustain over time.

Potential research topics:

  • Educate customers to increase their awareness of different programs
  • Develop awarding or pricing schemes to encourage customers to use more efficient appliances or participate in demand-side energy management programs for shifting energy uses and integration of renewable generation resources
  • Develop customer-friendly demand response algorithms (centralized, distributed, and autonomous control algorithms including the considerations from the customers’ perspective)
  • Develop distributed grid intelligence for providing a platform to implement the control, coordination and management of the grid resources at different levels
  • Develop forecasting algorithms for residential and commercial loads as well as distributed generation resources
  • Develop advanced data analytic tools (monitor device malfunctions, provide suggestions for different ways of consumption, safety and security, etc.)
  • Evaluate the quality, potential, and impact of the DR and efficiency programs under new conditions such as: electric vehicle adoption, customer adoption rates, customer awareness, acceptance and satisfaction
  • Study pricing and rewarding schemes for enhancing consumer involvements and acceptance of different energy efficiency and demand side management programs


  • Develop 10-year, hourly forecasting for distribution system planning
    • Forecast behind meter resources such as electric vehicles, PV and demand response programs
    • Assess forecasting errors
    • Address the load changes brought by the integration of new technology developments such as the integration of Grid-interactive efficient buildings (GEBS).
  • Retail market studies
    • Assess the efficacy of the current time-of-use rate and demand charge
    • Investigate potential new rate structures for guiding the integration of behind meter PVs, electric vehicle charging loads, and demand response programs.

Attending members: (5 members)

  • Ning Lu – NC State University
  • Ramtin Hadidi – Clemson University
  • Mike Mazzola – UNC Charlotte
  • Badrul Chowdhury – UNC Charlotte
  • Steve Whisenant – Duke Energy

After the Breakout Reports, the Research Solicitation Process and Notice of Intent was covered by Steven Whisenant. Formal research solicitation will be distributed by January 15, 2021. New Proposals will be received by the Center Director no later than midnight February 26, 2021.

Future meetings:

  1. Spring 2021 General Meeting – March 23-24, 2021 in Raleigh, NC hosted by NC State
  2. Fall 2021 General Meeting – TBD in Charlotte, NC hosted by UNC Charlotte

Meeting adjourned.

Closed Meeting – IAB Members Only Meeting – open to all attendees of companies that are Industry Members of CAPER

Presentations and Project Updates can be found by visiting on the Members Only area of the website.