Friday, January 6, 2017

Comparison of the Open Source Smart Grid Simulation Tools RAPSim and GridLAB-D

Renewable Alternative Powersystems Simulation
When you work on smart grid simulations with renewable energy, you most likely have heard about GridLAB-D which is an open source simulator allowing you to combine renewable energy sources with power flow problems in smart grid networks.
The other tool, RAPSim, comes with a similar goal, however was built based on a different design philosophie. While GridLAB-D comes with a textfile-based configuration of your simulation scenario and is run from command line, RAPSim comes with a graphical user interface allowing to generate your scenarios in a Sim City-like interface.
Midhat Jdeed has compared the two tools in his thesis by defining a number of very simple case studies which have been modeled in both tools.
Running GridLAB-D
In the end, he came to the following findings and conclusions: As expected, GridLAB-D comes with a large user base and a a comprehensive library of models. It was more surprising to find out that making a simple model were sometimes more difficult in GridLAB-D. For example, a household with constant load and a PV system could not be well described with the standard elements, because there is no household with a constant load. This makes sense from a realism point of view, but made it difficult to reproduce the same results in different simulators.
As a conclusion, both tools have their merits, be it for the researcher who wants to run simulations online on a simulation server or a teacher that wants to give some students a quick hands on experience with modeling a microgrid with a renewable energy source.

M. Jdeed. Comparison of the Smart Grid Simulation Tools RAPSim and GridLAB-D. Master Thesis, Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt, November 2016.

D. P. Chassin, J. C. Fuller, and N. Djilali. GridLAB-D: An Agent-Based Simulation Framework for Smart Grids. Journal of Applied Mathematics, vol. 2014, Article ID 492320, 12 pages, 2014. doi:10.1155/2014/492320

M. Pöchacker and W. Elmenreich. Model implementation for the extendable open source power system simulator RAPSim. In Proceedings of the 12th International Workshop on Intelligent Solutions in Embedded Systems (WISES'15), pages 103–108, Ancona, Italy, October 2015.