The U.S. Department of Energy Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) is challenging the international research and industrial communities to develop innovative power system optimization and control algorithms for the future power grid.

Entrants will develop transformational ways to solve power flow optimization problems across a wide range of operating conditions. This is the central challenge underlying all grid planning and operations tools.

The goal: Increase power grid flexibility, reliability, safety, security, and efficiency, while lowering the costs of integrating renewable generation technologies into the grid system.


  • Sandbox: Open now
  • Challenge 1: Opens Fall 2018
    • Trial 1: Spring 2019
    • Trial 2: Summer 2019
    • Final event: Fall 2019
  • Future challenges to follow


The sandbox is a testing environment that allows Entrants to try the submission, evaluation, and scoring process using small datasets.


Challenge 1 will solve a security-constrained (AC) optimal power flow (SCOPF) problem. Algorithms will be tested on complex, realistic power system models, and Entrants will be scored on how well their algorithms perform relative to other Entrants’ algorithms.


Additional challenges are planned (subject to appropriation of funding) beginning in 2019, following the completion of Challenge 1, in topics including DERs, intermittent resources, storage, grid resilience, grid restoration, grid dynamics, and cyber threats.


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