BetterGrids.org https://www.bettergrids.org The GRID DATA Repository Fri, 12 Jun 2020 20:25:54 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.4.2 Spring 2020 BetterGrids Newsletter https://www.bettergrids.org/spring-2020-bettergrids-newsletter Fri, 12 Jun 2020 15:42:03 +0000 https://www.bettergrids.org/?p=1262

June 12, 2020

Spring 2020 BetterGrids Newsletter

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2019 Performance

We successfully completed the third full year of operation of the BetterGrids Foundation, Inc. All performance metrics improved compared to 2018 except for the “Number of Downloads”, which went down since we have been blocking the bots. Number of registered users was up by 29% to 386. Number of items in the Repository was up by 10% to 454. The corporation met its financial objective of being self-funding, and substantially met the strategic goals set by the Board of Directors.

2019 Strategic Goals Performance Measurement
1 Perform a survey of
the user community to identify and prioritize improvements
  • Prepare and conduct the survey
  • Analyze/Summarize Finding
  • Develop Action Plan to address priority improvements
  • Survey conducted
  • Results analyzed
  • Results factored in 2020 goals with consultation with Technical Committee
    and the Policy Committee
2 Expand the Repository to support DERMS/ADMS studies
  • Create Working Group
  • Obtain and publish data from two ADMS/DERMS Research projects
  • Obtain grid models from two ADMS/DERMS vendors
  • Working Group created but need more members (currently only two members)
  • Published data from UCR and
    Berkeley ENERGISE projects
  • Obtain data from OpalRT. Cross referencing data from OpusOne

2020 Strategic Goals

The Board also approved the following strategic goals for 2020 that were recommended by the Policy Committee based on the survey of the Repository user community conducted in 2019.

2020 Strategic Goals Performance
1 Improve Repository based upon user community survey Provide access to and/or links to power flow solvers that can be used with posted models
2 Create a Forum on BetterGrids.org Forum implemented and in production use
3 On-line feedback form from the Repository Feedback form implemented seeking comments on user experience (e.g., did you find what you were looking for?)
4 Increase community involvement in BetterGrids
  • 2 new curators
  • 5 new outreach activities

Value-Added Services

In 2019 BetterGrids Foundation engaged in the Secure Grid Data Exchange (SGDX) project funded by ARPA-E and committed to deliver a collaboration platform for the SGDX project team for a fixed annual fee. The collaboration platform has been delivered and the first annual payment was received in 2020. It represents the attainment of a major milestone for the corporation—generating revenue from value-added services—which is fundamental to the BetterGrids’ mission of being a self-funding organization.

Industry Outreach

Several BetterGrids volunteers publicized the Repository while attending the DistribuTECH 2020 in San Antonio in January 2020, and the ARPA-E OPEN 2018 Project Kick Off meeting in New Orleans in March 2020.

Technical Committee Meeting

Technical Committee met on April 30, 2020. An important decision was made on the creation of a Working Group to help with the creation of uniform and best practices for secure exchange of grid data. BetterGrids is a participant in the Secure Grid Data Exchange project funded by ARPA-E. An objective of the project is to help create uniformity and standardize processes and non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) for access to sensitive grid data by legitimate researchers and vendors. Expected benefits include i) improved efficiency of grid data access processes that are very cumbersome today, ii) improved reliability of the grid by better access to the legitimate users of the grid data, and iii) improved cyber security of the grid by designing more secure processes for access to the sensitive grid data.

Stay Current

Stay up to date on the Repository progress and BetterGrids by following us at LinkedIn, Twitter, or our mailing list.

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Third Quarter Newsletter 2019 https://www.bettergrids.org/2019q3-newsletter Mon, 30 Sep 2019 16:35:14 +0000 http://www.bettergrids.org/?p=1225

September 24, 2019

Newsletter for the GRID DATA Repository and BetterGrids Foundation, Inc.

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Completion of the ARPA-E Project

In May 2019, GridBright formally completed the three-year research project funded by DOE ARPA-E to develop the BetterGrids Repository. Final closeout reports were delivered to DOE and the repository software to public under an open source license. In line with our original business plan, the Repository is now being evolved as a community resource by volunteers under the direction of the BetterGrids Board of Directors.

Industry Activities

In July 2019, Stephen Callahan and Travis Rouillard of GridBright exhibited the BetterGrids Repository at the ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit in Denver, Colorado.

In August 2019, Terry Nielsen, BetterGrids Technical Committee Chair presented the technical paper “A Semantic Search Capability for a Collection of Power Systems Models” at the Best Papers session of the IEEE General Meeting in Baltimore.

Research and Development

GridBright has officially started a new project funded by ARPA-E to develop a Secure Grid Data Exchange (SGDX) solution for the industry. Where as the BetterGrids Repository enables the grid researchers to share non-sensitive grid data, SGDX will enable the grid ecosystem to share sensitive grid data. SGDX Solutions Requirements were delivered to ARPA-E in August 2019 based on interviews with 30+ organizations representing utilities, ISOs, vendors, research organizations, and regulators.

New Additions to the Repository: Open Source Grid Analytics Code

We have expanded the Repository to allow grid researchers to publicly share the analytics software they develop as part of their research projects, along with sample test data. Visit bettergrids.org to see example software contributed by the researchers working on a DOE funded project led by the University of California at Riverside.

Users Survey

As part of the 2019 strategic goals set by the BetterGrids Board of Directors, we will be conducting a survey of the Repository users to identify desired improvements. Survey questions were reviewed by the BetterGrids Technical Committee in August and will be distributed to the registered users of the Repository through Survey Monkey in Q4, 2019.

Stay Current

Stay up to date on the Repository progress and BetterGrids by following us at LinkedIn, Twitter, or our mailing list.

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First Quarter Newsletter 2019 https://www.bettergrids.org/2019q1-newsletter Fri, 26 Apr 2019 16:06:26 +0000 http://www.bettergrids.org/?p=1205

April 26, 2019

Newsletter for the GRID DATA Repository and BetterGrids Foundation, Inc.

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Open Source Software Released

In keeping with our commitment to open source data and software, we have now released the latest version of the Repository code into public domain.

This latest release represents the final version of the Repository code developed by GridBright with funding from the ARPA-E. It includes the breakthrough innovation in semantic searching (and natural language processing) for grid models. A scientific paper reporting on this innovation will be presented by GridBright at the IEEE PES General Meeting this August.

Repository Users

Registered users of BetterGrids Repository now include over 300 individuals from 45 countries. They are engaged in grid research in a variety of organizations including universities, research institutes, consulting companies, software companies, national labs, and utilities.

2019 Strategic Goals

The BetterGrids Technical Committee met on April 19, 2019. The agenda included review of the 2018 performance and discussing the technical agenda for 2019. An important outcome of this meeting was a set of strategic goals for 2019.

2019 Performance Improvement Goals

The BetterGrids Board held its annual meeting on April 24, 2019. An important outcome of this meeting was a set of performance improvement goals for 2019.

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Fourth Quarter Newsletter 2018 https://www.bettergrids.org/2018q4-newsletter Tue, 08 Jan 2019 23:55:19 +0000 http://www.bettergrids.org/?p=1169

January 9, 2019

Newsletter for the GRID DATA Repository and BetterGrids Foundation, Inc.

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2018 Highlights

The bulk of 2018 was focused on delivering our new Semantic Search capability for popular model formats.  The Grid Data Repository now natively supports GridLab-D, MatLab, IEEE, PSS-E, OpenDSS, RED, and PowerWorld.  A technical summary of the solution architecture has been submitted to IEEE for peer-review and publication.

Other highlights include impressive growth metrics in models, users, and downloads.  We have also been successful in securing several revenue generating projects to reach financial self-sufficiency in 2019.

Industry Activities

During the fall, BetterGrids formally launched our solution for smart grid research and pilot projects.

The Repository Software-as-a-Service bundle for research team collaboration includes –

  • File Sharing and Document Management
  • Software Version Control Repository
  • Project and Issue Management
  • A Private Grid Data Model Collection for publishing and archiving results

One convenient annual charge covers –

  • Software setup and user administration.
  • Amazon (AWS) cloud hosting for security, reliability, and global access.

This turnkey platform is built specifically for smart grid projects and allows teams to focus on their research instead of software for team collaboration.

Pick up a brochure at BetterGrids.org/brochures.

Research and Development

In 2019, BetterGrids will be enhancing the Repository to support secure sharing of more sensitive grid data for industry commercial applications.  We are currently evaluating distributed peer-to-peer cryptographic methods that would allow for end-to-end data encryption over the cloud including zero-knowledge storage at untrusted intermediaries. We are also considering blockchain approaches to improve counterparty trust and data immutability.

2019 Strategic Goals

As we enter our 3rd year of operation, we will be building on the solid foundation created over the last two years that includes a modern repository, 400 public grid models, and 300 registered user accounts. Thank you to all our volunteers in getting this far!  We have drafted an ambitious set of Goals for 2019 that we like to share for ideas and feedback before we present them to our Board in April.

Email us your thoughts at info@bettergrids.org.

Quarterly Repository Metrics

The Repository and user community continue to grow. Highlights of recent model contributions include:

  • New 10,000 and 70,000 bus models geolocated in the Eastern and Western US submitted by Texas A&M University.

A large number of dynamic transmission and distribution model submissions by OpalRT.

Stay Current

Stay up to date on the Repository progress and BetterGrids by following us at LinkedIn, Twitter, or our mailing list.

Download Newsletter

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Third Quarter Newsletter 2018 https://www.bettergrids.org/2018q3-newsletter Thu, 04 Oct 2018 16:39:20 +0000 http://www.bettergrids.org/?p=1151

October 4, 2018

Newsletter for the GRID DATA Repository and BetterGrids Foundation, Inc.

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Open Source Software Released

In keeping with our commitment to open source data and software, BetterGrids has now released the first version of the Repository code into public domain. Over the next few months, we also plan to provide examples and guidance for ongoing community development and testing of the REST interface, the Model Format Importers, and the Semantic Search Engine. Please contact us  at BetterGrids.org if you are interested in contributing to open source software development, testing and curation.

Industry Activities

August was a busy month with several industry seminars and outreach events.

Terry Nielsen of GridBright presented the BetterGrids Repository at the IEEE PES General Meeting in Portland on two panel sessions related to Big Data Science, with a focus on data quality and semantic search of very large grid models.  He also presented at a National Science Foundation workshop on Analytics for a Resilient Grid.

Ali Vojdani and Travis Rouillard of GridBright manned an information booth at the MISO Market Symposium where innovators, thinkers, and industry visionaries discussed how grid research in new technologies can increase the ability for energy markets to transform the industry.  We want to extend a special thanks to ARPA-E and MISO for inviting us to exhibit among a small set of invited technology vendors.

Research & Development

As part of our work with UC Berkeley on a DOE ENERGISE project, we have been working with NREL to validate and enhance their new DITTO model format conversation tool.  Specifically, we are using it to convert GridLab-D models into Opal-RT format solar penetration test cases.  Next step is to explore ways to make this tool more accessible to the BetterGrids community.

Technical Committee

In late September, we held another Technical Committee Meeting to present the BetterGrids Board annual performance objectives and discuss ideas for achieving the longer term strategic objectives.  This includes approaches for expanding the model library, growing users, and building new value added services that will help BetterGrids achieve financial self-sufficiency when the ARPA-E GRID DATA project ends.  Meeting notes will be posted at BetterGrids.org.

Quarterly Repository Metrics

The Repository and user community continue to grow. Highlights of recent model contributions include:

  • NREL: Large-scale Synthetic Distribution and sub-transmission dataset based on building and street maps for Santa Fe, NM
  • U of Wisconsin, EPIGRIDS: “The Wisconsin 1664 Bus system
  • Michigan Tech: Occupancy and Consumption Correlation Analysis Data

Stay Current
Stay up to date on the Repository progress and BetterGrids by following us at LinkedIn, Twitter, or our mailing list.

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BetterGrids Releases Intelligent Grid Data Repository https://www.bettergrids.org/repository-v3 Mon, 30 Jul 2018 16:17:48 +0000 http://www.bettergrids.org/?p=1125

July 30, 2018

Today, BetterGrids released an enhanced version of the Grid Data Repository with advanced new ‘Semantic Search’ features.

BetterGrids announced today that it has released an enhanced version of its Grid Data Repository with advanced new ‘Semantic Search’ features that enable grid researchers to find highly specific grid models for their research using simple English sentences.

The Grid Data Repository is an online library of grid models developed for the Department of Energy by GridBright. It was financed under an award from the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), as part of the GRID DATA program to support new research in grid modernization. The Repository organizes data from disparate utility industry sources, public data generated by the grid research community, and new grid models being created under the ARPA‑E GRID DATA program by five project teams. 

The new ‘Semantic Search‘ features leverage big data technologies to allow for more sophisticated and meaningful searches within the Repository. The Semantic Search engine uses machine intelligence to better understand the grid model contents, and natural language processing to translate simple English sentences into complex database queries.

“The Repository addresses the growing need for more realistic grid models in the public domain to support grid research and testing,” according to Ali Vojdani, President of BetterGrids. “Our new semantic features give researchers more ability to find exactly what they need for their specific area of research.”

The grid research community is actively working to modernize the electric grid to support the growth of renewable energy and improve grid resiliency. Advancements have been hindered by the lack of publicly available power system models that realistically represent current and evolving grid challenges. The ARPA-E GRID DATA project addresses this critical need. 

“We thank all the organizations and volunteers who have contributed to the ongoing development and enhancement of the Repository, and look forward to continuing our collaboration in support of smart grid research and education,” said Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., BetterGrids Director.

Full Press Release

About GridBright, Inc. | GridBright is the grid management specialists of the utility industry.  GridBright helps the electric industry improve grid operations through smarter solutions for managing resiliency, distributed resources, and renewables.  GridBright was awarded the contract by ARPA-E to develop and ensure long term operations of the Grid Data Repository.  To learn more, visit GridBright.com

About the DOE ARPA-E GRID DATA Initiative | The GRID DATA program funds the development of large-scale, realistic, validated, and open-access power system network models. These models will have the detail required to allow the successful development and testing of transformational power system optimization and control algorithms. To learn more, visit https://arpa-e.energy.gov/?q=arpa-e-programs/grid-data.

 

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Second Quarter Newsletter 2018 https://www.bettergrids.org/second-quarter-newsletter-2018 Fri, 27 Jul 2018 18:23:00 +0000 http://www.bettergrids.org/?p=1137

July 27, 2018

BetterGrids published its Second Quarter 2018 Newsletter.

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Phase 3 Live

After a brief delay due to longer than expected testing, Phase 3 has now been released.

The key enhancement of this release is our semantic search engine with more user-friendly ‘natural language processing’. Users can easily search the repository with more intuitive English phrases or questions. We also delivered native support for several new model formats, including OpenDSS, RED, and PowerWorld.

Industry Activities

On May 18th, Ali Vojdani and Terry Nielsen gave a technical webinar on behalf of BetterGrids to the IEEE Power & Energy Society. The topic of the webinar was “Finding the Right Grid Model for Your Research in the GRID DATA Repository Using Big Data Semantic Search.” The presentation described the database and conversion technologies evaluated, selected, and deployed. It also included a live demo of the natural language search capability that researchers can use to find models of interest. Over 100 people participated in the webinar, and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive as one of the best in last year.

If you missed the webinar, we will be speaking about the BetterGrids Repository at the IEEE PES General Meeting in Portland on two panel sessions: “Data Science and Data Quality as Applied to Power System: Ensuring Data Quality in Power Systems Research using the BetterGrids.org Repository for Very Large Grid Models” on Tuesday, August 7, 2018, 1:00-5:00PM; “Best Practices in Sharing Big Data in Power Systems: Finding the right grid model for your research in the BetterGrids.org public Grid Data Repository using big data semantic search” on Wednesday, August 8, 2018 from 1:00-3:00PM.

On August 4-5th, we will be presenting the BetterGrids Repository at a National Science Foundation workshop on Analytics for a Resilient Grid. Also, on August 15-16th, we will be exhibiting at the MISO Market Symposium where innovators, thinkers and industry visionaries will discuss how new technologies can increase the ability for energy markets to transform the industry.

Research and Development

In our efforts to invent value-added services to make BetterGrids become self-sufficient, we formulated several new concepts and submitted multiple grant applications to extend the Repository and BetterGrids services. Examples are enabling secure exchange of grid data, and adding invertor models and load data to the Repository.

BetterGrids Board Meeting

In April, we held the annual BetterGrids Board Meeting. The meeting reviewed the 2017 performance, established goals for 2018, and added two new Board members – Dr. Ram Rajagopal of Stanford University, and CPA Chad McArthur of Hood & Strong LLP as our Audit Chair.

Quarterly Repository Metrics

Models from the other GRID DATA projects continue to trickle in. We added another 65 user accounts, and the pace of downloads is accelerating. The new advanced semantic searching functions will make it easier to find models as the repository continues to grow.

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Advancements in Grid Data Searching Algorithms https://www.bettergrids.org/blog-semantic Thu, 26 Jul 2018 16:23:19 +0000 http://www.bettergrids.org/?p=1130

July 26, 2018

The BetterGrids R&D team has created an advanced Semantic Searching algorithm for grid network models through machine learning and natural language processing.


Last year, GridBright deployed the BetterGrids.org Grid Data Repository for the DOE ARPA-E. BetterGrids.org is an online, searchable, open library of grid network models for power systems research, development, and testing.   It provides an easy way for the grid research community to contribute and find grid models.  The models are curated from the public domain, submitted by the community of users, or are contributed by labs or universities as an output of their research efforts.  Since going live in 2017, we have signed up almost 200 users and collected over 300 network topology models.

Smart grid researchers depend on realistic models of the power system network, generators, and loads to simulate the grid in laboratory environments.  This allows for the development and testing of new algorithms, processes, software, and hardware long before any type of field trial.

A constant challenge is finding models that accurately capture the physics of different grid challenges and scenarios.  Transmission vs distribution networks.  Long feeder runs vs heavily meshed networks.  Overhead lines vs underground lines.  Large commercial loads vs lots of residential solar.  Etc. Etc.   While there are hundreds of models in the public domain, the trick is finding one to match the specific characteristics of different use cases.

The rationale for developing BetterGrids.org was to make finding models easier for researchers.  Simply having a public model exchange for the community addresses part of that goal.  The Repository can also be divided into Collections that are categorized and indexed by data type – Transmission models, Distribution models, Buses, Generators, Loads, Inverters, Capacitors, etc.

But it is impractical to categorize all topology permutations and dimensions.  We needed something more powerful so users could find ad-hoc physical characteristics.  For example, users identified some examples to support their latest smart grid solar research –

  • Find models that have over 100 PV loads
  • Find models that have over 10 PV loads on a single 4KV circuit
  • Find models with 10 or more feeders fed from the same substation that have more than one voltage regulator per circuit
  • Find models with more than 100 wind or solar plants connected at 34kV or lower
  • Find models with the sum of distributed generation total kW capacity of PV plants over 100kW is 100mW or greater

To answer this challenge, GridBright developed a feature we call ‘Semantic Search’.  Semantic Search is the ability for the Repository to understand what is in each model, and then allow users to search using intuitive ‘natural language’ queries (like they do with Google).   Users can literally type in the sentence “Find models that have over 10 PV loads on a single 4KV circuit” and the Repository provides back all matching search results.

The simplicity of the user experience is enabled by an underlying ‘big data’ technical architecture consisting of ‘cataloguing’ and ‘searching’ components.  The Catalog Engine imports network topology files from a variety of different popular modeling formats, translates them into a common topological graph format, extracts key meta-data, and creates an efficient search index.  The Catalog Engine only needs to run once, when new model files are submitted.  The Search Engine parses the natural language queries into an efficient database query using the indices, translating human terms into technical terms the database engine understands.  The Search Engine runs every time a user submits a new query.

Our long term goal is to develop similar ‘catalog’ and ‘search’ algorithms to support a wider variety of grid data and software.   Each data type has fundamentally different data formats, attributes, meta-data, and user inquiry patterns.  We believe that the work we have already done gives us a significant head start in solving a similar problem for other grid data types.

Travis Rouillard, GridBright CTO

 

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May18th – IEEE Webinar on the Grid Data Repository https://www.bettergrids.org/may18th-ieee Tue, 08 May 2018 20:47:55 +0000 http://www.bettergrids.org/?p=1113

Finding the Right Grid Model for Your Research in the GRID DATA Repository Using Big Data Semantic Search

May 18, 2018 11:00 am ET

The presentation will describe the Big Data technologies evaluated, selected, and deployed (e.g., a hybrid SQL/NOSQL graph database, JSON converters, semantic preprocessing), and will include a live demo of the natural language search capability that researchers can use to find models of interest, by posing natural language queries such as:

  • Search for models with greater than 5,000 buses with over 10,000 miles of total line length of 69kV and above
  • Search for GridLab models that have over 10 PV loads on a single 4KV circuit

Presented by: Ali Vojdani, CEO, GridBright
IEEE Power & Energy Society Technical Webinar Series

Register here.

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First Quarter Newsletter 2018 https://www.bettergrids.org/first-quarter-newsletter-2018 Wed, 21 Mar 2018 20:20:39 +0000 http://www.bettergrids.org/?p=1096

March 21, 2018

BetterGrids published its First Quarter 2018 Newsletter.

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Phase 3 UAT

This month we are starting User Acceptance Testing of the Phase 3 semantic searching features.

The key enhancement is our ‘natural language processing’ engine. This new engine allows users to easily search the repository with more intuitive English phrases or questions, similar to how they use Google or Bing to search the web. We are also delivering native support for new model formats, including OpenDSS, RED, and PowerWorld.

Please contact us if you are interested in volunteering to test, curate, have a model to submit, or new features to suggest.

Industry Activities

The GridBright team recently returned from the ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit, where we had a booth in the Technology Showcase to present the latest work on the BetterGrids Repository. You can read the report on our new Blog at GridBright.com/news.

Other GRID DATA projects were also represented, including NREL who recently loaded their new Bay Area Synthetic Distribution Grid dataset into the Repository. It is a distribution grid model that is more than two orders of magnitude larger than any other public dataset.

Last month, Ali Vojdani gave a presentation on behalf of BetterGrids to the UC Berkeley Simons Institute, a venue for some of the world’s leading researchers and scholars in theoretical computer science. Attendees from around the globe were excited to hear about new tools and data supporting their work in energy optimization algorithms and methods.

Research & Development

With Phase 3 development wrapping up, our R&D focus has shifted to exploring spin-off ideas and new value-added services we could integrate with the Repository. During the last quarter we submitted 4 different concept papers to ARPA-E OPEN2018, including one to build a solution for securely sharing FERC ‘Critical Energy Infrastructure Information (CEII)’ grid models and data.

BetterGrids Self-Funding

We’ve begun efforts to transition BetterGrids to a self-funding business model with two separate campaigns. First, we are actively marketing our Private Data Repositories to R&D projects, building off our success with several DOE ENERGISE projects. Second, we launched a fundraising drive to support Grid Resiliency Education & Research through private donations.
More information about BetterGrids services and our non-profit business model can be found  at BetterGrids.org/foundation.

Quarterly Repository Metrics

In the latest quarter, we added a few very large models, including NREL’s Bay Area Synthetic Distribution Grid. The size of our database is growing much faster than model numbers.
We also added 22 new user accounts. Downloads grew another 25% to over 50,000 since we launched last April. There is a rich pipeline of new grid models in the making by the size other GRID DATA projects coming to the Repository later this year.

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