Awesense

Building a Platform for Digital Energy

At Awesense, we’ve been building a platform for digital energy with the goal of allowing easy access to and use of electrical grid data in order to build a myriad of applications and use cases for the decarbonized grid of the future, which will need to include more and more distributed energy resources (DERs) such as rooftop solar, batteries as well as electric vehicles (EVs) and still operate safely and efficiently.

Awesense has built a sandbox environment populated with synthetic but realistic data and exposing APIs on top of which such applications can be built. As such, what we are looking for is to create a collection of prototype applications demonstrating the power of the platform.

The current challenge involves building an application for optimizing the distribution of load (consumption) across the grid so it is balanced instead of overloaded in some areas and underloaded in others.

Background

In an electrical grid, power is distributed through multiple lines on three different ‘phases’. Phases in an electrical grid are like lanes on a highway. They allow for more efficient power delivery, especially for high-demand areas like factories. Achieving ‘phase balance’ in a power grid is like keeping the traffic evenly distributed across all lanes of the highway. If some lanes get jammed while others are empty, it slows everything down. In the grid, unbalanced phases can overload some power lines, leading to voltage drops and potential equipment issues, just like a traffic jam creates delays and frustration for drivers.

With the availability of data and use of analytics, it is possible to identify which phases of the grid are more or less loaded and then to redistribute the load across the three phases to ensure that the power flowing through each phase is equal. Switching some loads from a heavily loaded phase to a less loaded one can be done with a relatively low investment cost compared to upgrading the conductors.

The high-level aim of this project is to create an algorithm that identifies the areas of the grid that are most unbalanced across phases and to identify places where load can be easily switched from one phase to another in order to optimize balance. The Awesense sandbox environment can be used for testing.

Details

Electrical distribution grids are composed of grid elements of various types (e.g. power lines, transformers, switches, meters, SCADA devices, etc.) connected to each other in a network (graph) structure. Certain grid elements like meters, SCADA devices, fixed or movable IoT sensors, and Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) produce time series data such as voltage, current, power, energy, battery state of charge, and other measurements.

In this project, the students will need to use the Awesense SQL or REST APIs to retrieve the necessary time series and grid structure information to determine and visualize which parts of the grid have the largest load imbalances and then devise an algorithm that identifies the best places where load can be shifted from one phase to another in order to optimize balance. Because load (consumption) fluctuates over time, the problem has a temporal dimension that needs to be taken into account, as the magnitude of load imbalance may vary with time of day, week or year.

Additional information about the phase balance optimization use case can be found here.

Skillset

This work involves coding some analyses and visualizations on top of data and APIs described above and devising an algorithm for redistribution of load to optimize balance. It would require good data wrangling, statistics and data visualization skills to design and then implement the best way to transform, aggregate and visualize the data, and good mathematical / algorithmic skills for the optimization piece. The data access APIs are in SQL form, so SQL querying skills would also be required. Alternatively, REST APIs can be made available. Beyond that, the tools and programming languages used to create the analyses, visualizations and algorithms would be up to the students. Typical ones we have used include BI tools like Power BI or Tableau and notebooking applications like Jupyter or Zeppelin combined with programming languages like python or R.

Tool Access and Support

If the participants don’t have any electrical background, Awesense will teach enough of it to allow handling the given use case.

In addition to the previously mentioned SQL and REST APIs, the Awesense platform also comes with a web-based application (graphical user interface front-end) called TGI (True Grid Intelligence) that serves as a companion visual explorer for the data stored in the platform. The snapshot below shows a portion of the grid available in the synthetic dataset. An EV Charger is selected (map blue marker and highlighted row in the table) and its properties shown in the left sidebar, along with an electrical flow time series chart. The SQL & REST APIs include functionality for retrieving all this information programmatically.

For the duration of the project, upon agreeing to a standard end-user licensing agreement, participants in this PIMS project will be given access to the sandbox environment, including TGI, the programmatic SQL or REST APIs and associated documentation, as well as access to a GitHub repo with sample SQL, REST and python code snippets in Jupyter notebooks, showcasing how to use the APIs.

A successful project will consist of an algorithm and a set of visuals answering the questions posed above for the sandbox dataset, accompanied by any BI tool files or notebook code used to produce them; Awesense permits and encourages the public sharing of these artifacts, as long as credit for the dataset and APIs is given to Awesense (e.g. by including a “Powered by Awesense” phrase and an Awesense website link); publishing the raw data retrieved from the sandbox is not permitted.

Important note: project participants will be given individual access credentials, and they should not share with anyone else (including not among themselves) nor cache/save them in publicly posted files.

Aviv Fried
Aviv Fried
Data Analyst