GridLAB-D is an open-source software product developed at the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) to study the impact Smart Grid technologies on the US electric grid. GridLAB-D was initially created at PNNL under Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) funding and developed under DOE Office of Electricity funding. It was released to the public as an open-source tool in 2009. Since then its impact on Smart Grid research has been growing and the number of users and collaborators has become a challenge for PNNL to manage on behalf of DOE, particularly with the expectation of refocused budgets in coming years.
Historically, the annual cost of managing supporting the open-source delivery and the user community has been roughly $400k at US government rates. This includes the following activities, all of which DOE has funded fully to date.
- Project management and administration
- Configuration management and version control
- Automated build and validation
- End-user and developer support
- Shared capability development and enhancements
- Outreach and instruction
- Special projects
In an effort to leverage the financial commitment from DOE and provide the GridLAB-D user community with more control over the scope of work conducted at PNNL on their behalf, Battelle (which manages PNNL on behalf of DOE) is proposing to create an association to provide a vehicle for collecting at least part of the funds necessary to support these activities and offer its members the authority to direct the development and support of many aspects of GridLAB-D’s open-source delivery system.
In a proposal to the US Department of Energy, PNNL recommended the following characteristics of an association. The proposal was approved by the Office of Electricity in November 2011.
The name of the association will be “The GridLAB-D Association.”
The purpose of the association is to manage the technical development, distribution and support of GridLAB-D, an open-source software to simulate the Smart Grid that was developed at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory under funding from the US Department of Energy's Office of Electricity.
The members of the association will be those individuals and organizations who contribute annual dues to fund the activities that meet purpose of the association. The contribution amount may change based on class of member, the cost of the program, the number of members in each class, and the level of government support.
Members will vote on the business of the Association. Voting rights of the members, which will be relative to the degree of contribution, will be defined in a governance agreement to be developed once the association is formed.
Member organizations may appoint representatives to vote on their behalf and attend meetings of the Members.
Membership will not be transferable.
A governance agreement will be developed when the association is formed.
The US Department of Energy has reserved for itself a role in the governance of the association. PNNL has reserved for itself strictly administrative and support roles in furtherance of the purposes of the Association.
GridLAB-D is currently available to the public under the open source license authorized by DOE, and it is Battelle’s intent to maintain this status. Therefore, none of the work done under this association will be proprietary, and any and all contributions, modifications, and intellectual property will be included in the open source license.
PNNL has developed procedures for identifying and processing intellectual property, and those procedures will be used for any IP developed under the association, even though the IP will be placed into the open source license.
This document is intended for discussion purposes only, and nothing in this document should be construed as an offer from Battelle or the US Government, nor are Battelle or the US Government bound to any term of this document.
For more information, please contact Dick Russell at PNNL.