In modern power systems, reliable provision of grid services (e.g., primary and ancillary services) are highly dependent on automation systems in order to have monitoring, processing, decision making and communication capabilities. The operational flexibility of automation systems is essential for the reliable operation of power systems during and after disruptive events. However, this is restricted by integrated hardware-software platforms. Therefore, it will be difficult to reconfigure control strategies during run time. This paper presents the concept of Grid Function Virtualization (GFV) as a potential approach to improve the operational flexibility of grid automation systems. GFV has been proposed to offer a new way to deploy and manage grid services by leveraging virtualization technology. The main idea of GFV is to run grid services (i.e., software implementation of services) independently from underlying hardware. To realize the important design considerations, the GFV architecture and its building blocks is elaborated in details. To this end, an exhaustive review of applications of virtualization in several domains is provided to show the importance of virtualization in improving flexibility and resource utilization. Finally, the advantages of the proposed concept to deal with disruptions in power systems is demonstrated in a proof of concept based on a CIGRE MV benchmark grid.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited