Los Alamos National Labs with logo 2021

Joint Power System and Natural Gas Pipeline Optimal Expansion Planning

The U.S. electricity sector is investing 2 trillion dollars by 2040 to upgrade the generation fleet with new generation capacity, new transmission, distribution lines, and smart grid technologies to support the reliability and resilience for the 21st century economy.

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Schematics of a natural gas transmission network (left) and a electric transmission grid

Schematics of a natural gas transmission network (left) and a electric transmission grid (right). The interdependence of these systems comes from natural gas fired generators (middle). When these networks are stressed, such as during polar vortex events, coordinated network management prevents a high demand of natural gas to cascade into a power blackout."

Project purpose

Typical existing expansion planning methods are primarily scenario-based forward simulation, i.e. the designer proposes an expansion scenario and evaluates the impact and cost via simulation. These methods do not incorporate modern methods of optimization-based system expansion. Optimization-based methods are even more critical because the emergence of natural gas as an economically viable and environmentally preferred fuel for electric power generation has altered the mix of the generation fleet and created strong dependencies between the electric power and natural gas infrastructures. Advanced system expansion planning theory, methods and tools are needed to provide system planners with cross-infrastructure visibility of system stress and constraints. Without these advancements to optimization-based expansion planning, future infrastructure designs are vulnerable to coupled collapse of power systems and natural gas pipeline driven by extreme scenarios, e.g. extreme cold or extreme heat that create correlated stress on both infrastructures.

Technical approach

In this project, we integrate the individual elements of power system planning and natural gas system modeling into a formulation of a complete joint gas-grid expansion planning problem. The approach includes an elasticity model to couple the gas and grid physical networks with financial markets and includes extreme event resilience that represents the gas-grid physical infrastructures when they are placed under high stress. The resulting formulation is nonlinear and nonconvex making it computationally difficult to solve. To overcome these computationally challenges, this project develops relaxations, approximations, decompositions and monotonicity properties to restore tractability. The prototype algorithms are tested on gas-grid models of increasing complexity and network size and build to an ISO-relevant optimal planning problem.

Invited talks
  1. Russell Bent. Gas-Grid Resilience Planning. Sandia Grid of the Future Workshop, Albuquerque, NM. August 2018.
  2. Russell Bent. Expansion Planning of Joint Electricity and Gas Networks. INFORMS Annual Meeting, Phoenix, AZ. November 2018.
  3. Russell Bent. Expansion Planning of Joint Electricity and Gas Networks. Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers Conference, Orlando, FL. May 2019.
  4. Russell Bent. jl: Convex Relaxations for Gas Systems Modeling. The International Council for Industrial and Applied Mathematics Congress, Valencia, Spain. July 2019.
  5. Russell Bent. Resilient Network Design of Electricity and Gas Networks, INFORMS Annual Meeting, Seattle, WA. October 2019.
Invited workshops
  1. DOE Xlab Innovation Summit. Seattle, WA. Jan. 2019 (invited panelist)
  2. Tri-Laboratory Applied Energy Workshop: Modeling and Analysis of Current and Future Energy Systems. NETL. April 2019.
  1. Bent, K. Sundar, and C. Coffrin. GasModels.jl: An Open-Source Modeling Framework for Natural Gas Flow Formulations. Power Systems Computation Conference, under review.
  2. Ahumada, K. Sundar, R. Bent, and A. Zlotnik. N-k Contingency Analysis for Natural Gas. Power Systems Computation Conference, under review.
  3. Sundar, S. Misra, A. Zlotnik, and R. Bent. Robust Gas Network Expansion Planning. Power Systems Computation Conference, under review.
  4. Sundar, H. Nagarajan, S. Misra, M. Lu, C. Coffrin, and R. Bent. "Optimization-Based Bound Tightening using a Strengthened QC-Relaxation of the Optimal Power Problem," under review (Computational Optimization and Applications)
  5. Carleton Coffrin, Russell Bent, Byron Tasseff, Kaarthik Sundar and Scott Backhaus. "Relaxations of AC Maximal Load Delivery for Severe Contingency Analysis." IEEE Transactions on Power Systems, 34 (2): 1450-1458, 2019.
  6. Bent, S. Blumsack, P. van Hentenryck, C. Borraz-Sanchez, M. Shahriari. "Joint Electricity and Natural Gas Transmission Planning with Endogenous Market Feedbacks." IEEE Transactions on Power Systems, 33 (6): 6397 – 6409, 2018.
  7. Lu, H. Nagarajan, R. Bent, S. Eksioglu, and S. Mason. "Tight Piecewise Convex Relaxations for Global Optimization of Optimal Power Flow." Power Systems Computation Conference, 2018.