Duke Energy Smart Grid Laboratory





The Duke Energy Smart Grid Laboratory (DESGL) at the Energy Production and Infrastructure Center (EPIC) is a state-of-the-art facility that supports the education, research and outreach activities needed to modernize the power grid. Grid modernization begins with advanced technology designs, integration, real-time modeling, hardware-in-the-loop analysis and system level validation before implementation. The DESGL is capable of supporting utilities, vendors and agencies in the region, both nationally and internationally.

As computers have merged with the electric grid, the DESGL educates the engineers who will run this improved grid and allows them to perform research to achieve top efficiency in the new digital world. Both undergraduate and graduate students are granted real-world experience and taught necessary skills to engineer and design the next-generation power grid. For more information, please visit the DESGL webpage and download flyer.








The DESGL's main functions include:

  • Offer technical services to companies researching and testing grid modernization
  • Perform advanced studies, testing, and evaluation in modern power and energy systems
  • Real – time digital simulation test – bed that can perform smart grid device functional testing, system integration and real-time power analysis.
  • Test grid condition of hardware components for grid level studies, such as generator exciters, protection relays, power inverters, Smart Meters, etc.

The DESGL helps to answer the following questions:

  • How do we integrate Intelligent Electronic Devices (IED) to the grid?
  • Which advanced testing should we perform to evaluate the grid’s performance after integration?
  • How do we test such performance in real-time? Specifically, how do we develop and validate models?
  • How can we evaluate the physical device’s performance in control hardware-in-the-loop (CHIL) and power hardware-in-the-loop (PHIL)?

Educational Research

The DESGL offers a wide range of opportunities to both education and industry visitors of the Energy Production and Infrastructure Center (EPIC). Students receive the opportunity to develop models while companies are able to train their employees in specific design software.

Some of the educational projects that have resulted from the Smart Grid's ability to integrate research and education are:

  • Contract Research
  • Graduate Research Projects (MS / PhD)
  • Undergraduate Projects (Senior Design)
  • Energy Concentration

The figure below displays the Smart Grid’s three areas of expertise:

  • Real-time Power System Analysis that utilizes Real Time Digital Sensors (RTDS) Hypersim and a private server. 
  • Control Hardware in the Loop allows use of relays and a Synchrophasor.
  • Power Hardware in the Loop Testing allows testing, evaluation and analysis.