Generating synthetic power grids using Exponential Random Graphs

The IEEE 300-bus power grid topology with different buses encoded with different colors.


Synthetic power grids enable secure, real-world energy system simulations and are crucial for algorithm testing, resilience assessment, and policy formulation. We propose a novel method for the generation of synthetic transmission power grids using Exponential Random Graph (ERG) models. Our two main contributions are: (1) the formulation of an ERG model tailored specifically for capturing the topological nuances of power grids, and (2) a general procedure for estimating the parameters of such a model conditioned on working with connected graphs. From a modeling perspective, we identify the edge counts per bus type and $k$-triangles as crucial topological characteristics for synthetic power grid generation. From a technical perspective, we develop a rigorous methodology to estimate the parameters of an ERG constrained to the space of connected graphs. The proposed model is flexible, easy to implement, and successfully captures the desired topological properties of power grids.

F. Giacomarra, G. Bet, A. Zocca. (2023) Generating synthetic power grids using Exponential Random Graphs. Submitted to Physical Review X Energy.
Alessandro Zocca
Alessandro Zocca
Tenured Assistant Professor