Smart grid research has tended to be compartmentalised,
with notable contributions from economics,
electrical engineering and science and technology studies.
However, there is an acknowledged and growing need for
an integrated systems approach to the evaluation of smart
grid initiatives. The capacity to simulate and explore smart
grid possibilities on various scales is key to such an integrated
approach but existing models – even if multidisciplinary
– tend to have a limited focus.
This paper describes an innovative and flexible framework
that has been developed to facilitate the simulation of various
smart grid scenarios and the interconnected social,
technical and economic networks from a complex systems
perspective. The architecture is described and related to
realised examples of its use, both to model the electricity
system as it is today and to model futures that have been
envisioned in the literature.
Potential future applications of the framework are explored,
along with its utility as an analytic and decision
support tool for smart grid stakeholders.