How GE Digital’s Grid Orchestration Software Suite is Helping Modernize the Electric Grid
Driven by the twin forces of decarbonization and electrification, the grid is reaching an inflection point and if we don’t fundamentally modernize our approach to grid management, it will become the single largest bottleneck to the energy transition.
The electric grid has been called the greatest engineering achievement of the 20th century, the largest industrial investment and the most complex machine ever built. Over the past 100+ years, the grid has serviced society as an intricately balanced system under predictable and stable conditions through generation, storage, and load. In the last couple of decades, a suite of point solutions has become well-established, which includes geospatial information systems (GIS), advanced distribution management systems (ADMS), advanced energy management systems (AEMS), market management systems (MMS), and field protection and control equipment. While these solutions are capable and sufficient, there is little standardization and interoperability between these systems.
Technologies that appeared to better manage the edge have to date introduced additional point solutions, from distributed energy resource management systems (DERMS) to smart inverter controls, dynamic line rating, fast frequency response, wide area monitoring systems, flexible AC transmission systems, high voltage direct current, and local microgrid controls. While each of these solutions and devices augment the capabilities of the grid, they’ve introduced more complexity in data, control, and coordination.
The energy transition is driving radical change across the ecosystem, bringing vast complexities, unpredictability, and volatility to the grid. From the proliferation of distributed energy resources (DERs) at the “grid edge” including solar, storage, electric vehicles, and smart thermostats, to large resources along the distribution, sub-transmission and transmission systems, to modernization of centralized generation such as hydrogen and carbon capture and storage, to the rise of ecosystem stakeholders such as prosumers and aggregators, the grid is going through a massive paradigm shift. Meanwhile, grid security is under attack, including adverse weather, cyber events, and privacy concerns.
Whether it’s electric vehicles driving vast electrification with load profile uncertainty, decarbonization driving two-way power flow, stability management, new business models, or storm response requiring multi-level coordinated efforts, point solutions that we’ve relied on in the past are not enough.
The call to change is clear – integrated grid challenges require integrated grid solutions. This calls for a better way of holistically orchestrating the many systems on the grid, putting a safe, reliable, affordable, and green grid at the center of decision making. The solution is in grid orchestration.
Grid orchestration is a system-of-systems servicing actionable data and analytics achieving a flexible and integrated grid. While the industry today is familiar with DER orchestration, grid orchestration further extends this to coordinate grid activities through multiple systems and parties, traversing generation, transmission, distribution, markets and the edge. While traditional management occurs when utilities command and control the grid with top-down certainty, orchestrating the grid requires the utility to intelligently coordinate many systems, devices and stakeholders.
Three important characteristics are required to support this framework:
Given the pace of change, the utility industry needs a more flexible agile journey-based approach. Software that is designed to modernize and transform the electric grid to facilitate the progression of use cases while enabling multiple data sources and users is what the industry needs now.
For this reason, GE is leading the way with its innovative software that enables utilities to move from the traditional framework of managing the grid to orchestrating the grid. We’ve introduced a modern software platform, GridOS® Orchestration Software, the first grid software portfolio designed for grid orchestration. The GridOS portfolio brings energy data, network modeling, and AI-driven analytics together across the grid to power a suite of composable applications from GE, utilities, and partners. It is designed around a Zero Trust grid security model, a federated grid data fabric, a suite of intelligent grid applications, and delivered via a hybrid cloud architecture, helping utilities orchestrate an integrated, flexible, and secure clean energy grid.
GridOS enables utilities to leverage a full portfolio of use cases. These use cases can be deployed flexibly and scaled using all of GE’s innovation straight to deployment. GE customers experience 18% less network outages and realize 40% faster restoration times to keep the lights on for our customers*. This is the platform that can provide the pathway to net zero.
For the last 130 years, we’ve electrified the world, connected communities, illuminated possibilities, and delivered prosperity. We’ve played our part in building a world that works. But we must keep going, working to provide more sustainable, affordable, reliable, and secure electricity. The next 130 years starts right now. At GE we are united by a single, urgent purpose to electrify and decarbonize the planet: because together, we all have “the energy to change the world”.