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Power cybernetics

Keeping the lights on in the digital era needs new standards of validation

The power system is changing. It is transforming from a simple, static grid into a highly complex, dynamic network capable of reacting instantly to changes in supply and demand. Traditional passive components are giving way to advanced digital electronics to support distributed energy resources (DER) and new patterns of energy use. The challenge is how to maintain control and safeguard the supply in this highly non-linear system.

Increased complexity and new technologies cannot be allowed to lead to increased risk. Hence, we as an industry need to take a fresh look at how we test and validate transmission and distribution grids. We must take validation and certification to a new level. Component certification is essential. But it is no longer enough on its own. In such complex systems, we should also look at how components interact with each other and with the power system. We need to consider the software and the hardware as one, and thereby validate the complete system in an integrated manner. 

System-level intelligent device validation
This is an issue DNV’s energy experts have been exploring in great detail. Based on this research, we have developed a methodology that enables the safe, efficient and cost-effective system-level validation of active, software-controlled power systems. We call it Power Cybernetics.

Power Cybernetics is a comprehensive, closed-loop, real-time test and validation methodology. Lab-based, it combines the strengths of physical testing and simulation through techniques such as hardware-in-the-loop (HIL)  and fit-for-purpose testing.

The time for action
The digital age for power systems is dawning. Renewable and distributed energy resources are increasingly important parts of the global generation mix, and grids are evolving to accommodate them. If we are to make this change with minimal risk to supply reliability, the power industry needs to act now to develop new standards for system-level validation.

Power Cybernetics is an innovative approach to testing and validating power systems. But it is built on the firm foundations of our risk-based verification concept that has been applied for 45 years, and our extensive experience in cybernetics for the maritime and wind energy sectors. Working together as an industry, we believe Power Cybernetics can form the basis of new certification procedures to maintain control and enhance reliability of ever-increasing complex power systems.

For more information on increasing grid complexity and the need for new, system-level approaches to validation, please download our position paper: Power Cybernetics – the future of validation.

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