Open-source modeling eLab initiative

Electricity system planning is growing more complex as decarbonization is becoming a high priority and power system plans are including increased amounts of variable renewable resources and energy storage. Grid planning processes and software tools need to evolve to support planners and other stakeholders in effectively addressing this transition. Regulatory processes and other dimensions of planning processes, particularly around software tools and modeling, can often lack transparency and limit the ability of stakeholders to meaningfully participate in these regulatory processes.

With these challenges in mind, GridLab and RMI convened a multi-stakeholder team through RMI’s Electricity Innovation Lab (eLab). Operating under the hypothesis that open-source modeling tools and datasets can enhance transparency in grid planning processes, the eLab team worked to develop a clear understanding of the open-source modeling landscape and to create a roadmap for an initiative to increase the value and use of open-source tools. The eLab team—which included expertise that spanned software development and use, utility consulting, clean resource development, and regulatory issues—conducted a series of external interviews and held working group discussions over three months from 2021 to 2022.

This report memorializes the work of the eLab team and we hope it will inform future discussions and efforts on leveraging open-source tools for grid planning. As an example of an open source modeling effort supported by GridLab, see the GridPath RA Toolkit study at

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