PICo-Design: Protection-Inverter Co-Design for 100% Renewable Power Systems

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OPEN 2021
Princeton, New Jersey
Project Term:
09/30/2022 - 09/29/2025

Critical Need:

Today's power systems protection schemes are based on 50-year-old technology effective for synchronous machine-dominated systems only. The rapid growth of renewable generation creates systems dominated by power electronics inverters in wind turbines, solar power plants, batteries, and electric vehicle chargers. Current protection schemes are not viable because of fundamentally different dynamics between synchronous generators and power electronics inverters, especially during short-circuit faults. Large power system operators have identified power system protection as one major challenge to increase renewable integration and meet sustainability targets. Fundamentally new protection schemes are required for future power systems.

Project Innovation + Advantages:

Siemens and its partners will develop innovative protection schemes consisting of fundamentally new control and protection (C&P) functions for inverter-dominated renewable systems. These new functions do not represent simple evolution of prior engineering practices when analyzing and optimizing system-level protection schemes. Rather, new Protection Inverter Co-Design (PICo-Design) tools will be developed that automatically analyze and optimize C&P functions to achieve higher protection reliability. These protection schemes will be validated and demonstrated in a small-scale hardware testbed and large-scale hardware-in-the-loop testbed of Hawai’i Island using high-fidelity simulations with up to 100% inverter-based generation. This project could significantly reduce carbon emissions and electricity prices while increasing energy efficiency.

Potential Impact:

Siemens innovative protection schemes for inverter-dominated power systems could enable greater renewable integration in the electric grid. The PICo-Design optimization tool will:


Allow protection engineers to quickly optimize the C&P functions of renewable energy and protection devices to maximize resilience, protection dependability, security, and speed.


Allow grid operators to run their systems with lower emissions and lower electricity costs.


Offer a cost-efficient solution for protection of renewable-dominated power systems based on new C&P functions and joint optimization of both protection devices and renewables.


ARPA-E Program Director:
Dr. Mario Garcia-Sanz
Project Contact:
Dr. Ulrich Muenz
Press and General Inquiries Email:
Project Contact Email:

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