This quarterly newsletter highlights recent projects, partnerships, and resources from the Global Power System Transformation (G-PST) Consortium.
Developing A Strong Governance Foundation for Long-Term Success
As I’m writing this, the G-PST Consortium is about to round out one year since our official launch in April 2021. We’ve made extraordinary progress since then – achieving milestones with our research and teaching agendas, directly partnering with system operators in more than six developing countries, with additional partnerships in the works, and hosting regular events and forums to propel the dialogue about what action is necessary to accelerate system operations toward low-carbon solutions.
Nevertheless, our challenge is both a sprint and a marathon: a sprint to deploy advanced energy systems at the pace needed to fight the worst effects of climate change and ensure energy security, and a marathon to instill sustainable, long-term improvements that foster a talented and inclusive workforce and improve system reliability at every operational level. It’s work that must be done urgently but takes consistent effort and time to achieve.
Our responsibility as the Secretariat is to balance these needs and build a foundation for the G-PST to operate for years to come by defining how decisions are made, growth is managed, and impact is measured. Establishing a healthy system of communication and collaboration not only enables cross-cutting work between G-PST’s pillars and amplifies their collective force, but also ensures tenable workloads for G-PST contributors and builds consensus among our many stakeholders.
After much input and review, we’ve finalized a robust governance structure, posted to our website for transparency. We hope this structure, along with the indicators we’ve established to gauge progress toward our visionary goals, creates a durable footing for G-PST’s continued success. As always, I encourage you all to share any thoughts or considerations you may have. Reach out to us anytime at Globalpst@nrel.gov.
Dr. Karin Wadsack, Director, G-PST Consortium Interim Secretariat
CSIRO, AEMO, and G-PST Release Research Roadmap to Support Australia’s Energy Transition
The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Australia’s national science agency and a G-PST regional lead organization, released a Roadmap highlighting the research required to continue Australia’s transition to a more secure and affordable electricity system, showing that innovation can drive the integration of renewables. The Roadmap was developed in collaboration with G-PST Founding System Operator, the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), and is based on input from leading Australian and international system operators, as well as research agencies from the G-PST.
The G-PST’s System Operator Research and Peer Learning Pillar (Pillar 1) adapted key research questions from the G-PST Research Agenda to the Australian context, with the goal of supporting Australia’s energy transition in the long-term interests of consumers. The research areas identified by G-PST’s Pillar 1 address the challenge of rapid change faced by Australia’s National Electricity Market and Wholesale Electricity Market. The Roadmap summarizes the outcomes of nine individual research plans, including their criticality to Australia’s energy transition, which research should be prioritized, and how the research could form individual programs.
Inaugural G-PST Forum Convenes to Discuss Strategy and Direction
To enable a bottom-up system of communication across the G-PST, a bi-annual “G-PST Forum” was established as a venue to solicit suggestions and gather ideas for ongoing improvement of the G-PST and update its participants on important G-PST developments and activities. On February 28, 2022, the G-PST hosted the inaugural Forum with over 65 partners and stakeholders joining the two-hour event. The co-chairs of the Forum, Mark O’Malley, April Allerdice, and Janusz Bialek, provided an overview of the G-PST and outlined the Forum’s role and purpose, followed by several Forum participants sharing how they have worked with G-PST so far and what value its brought to them or their organization. Participants split into five breakout groups, one for each G-PST pillar, and discussed a range of topics, such as potential gaps in pillar strategy, means of strengthening existing initiatives, and opportunities for collaboration across pillars, organizations, and research groups.
Joint Workforce Development Initiative to Advance Leadership Opportunities for Women in Power System Operations
The Women in Power System Transformation initiative—formally launched at the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and implemented through the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the G-PST Consortium—was created to address educational and professional barriers to women’s entry and advancement in power system operation organizations. Through this initiative, Imperial College London, the G-PST’s lead organization for the Workforce Development Pillar (Pillar 3), is developing a university-level engineering training curriculum that will be completed in the coming months and made available at no cost to university professors and students around the world. The initiative is currently seeking university partners to pilot the curriculum. To nominate a university to engage in Women in PST, send inquiries to email@example.com. The initiative also includes university internship and professional fellowship components targeted to women and other underrepresented groups in developing countries. The first cohort of interns will be placed at NREL beginning in June 2022.
Control Center of the Future Assessment Developed for Peru’s System Operator
Under the G-PST’s System Operator Technical Support Pillar (Pillar 2), the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and NREL developed an in-depth assessment of the optimal approaches for control center improvement that Peru’s system operator, Comité de Operación Económica del Sistema Interconectado Nacional (COES), might consider to meet the demands of the future power system. The road map is structured in five key areas: architecture, data, control center tools, human factors, and buildings and hardware, with eleven key pillars of innovation within each area. The roadmap is not intended to be an implementation plan or course of action for COES to follow necessarily, but rather is an indicative and visionary way of considering the best approaches for achieving their operational goals. The assessment was provided to COES for review in March 2022.
G-PST Team Members Join Panel Introducing PyPSA Meets Earth Open-Source Initiative
In 2022, the PyPSA Meets Africa initiative released the first prototype of PyPSA meets Africa (v0.0.1) and is now focused on expanding globally into a new phase, called PyPSA Meets Earth, and creating an open model dataset of the global power system at different network levels. G-PST’s Open Tools and Data Pillar (Pillar 5) is actively working to support these activities by advancing tool interoperability and establishing standard data specifications in collaboration with PyPSA Meets Earth and researchers from organizations such as LF Energy, Fraunhofer, NREL, and RTE France. G-PST team members Clayton Barrows and Jarrad Wright joined a virtual event introducing the PyPSA Meets Earth initiative and spoke on its panel about the challenges and opportunities for scaling up use of open-source tools and data at power system operators.