NewEnergyNews: ORIGINAL REPORTING: California’s Step Toward An Automated Power System

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    Founding Editor Herman K. Trabish

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    Wednesday, May 25, 2022

    ORIGINAL REPORTING: California’s Step Toward An Automated Power System

    The Big Picture on Emerging Clean Technologies: Transactive Energy

    Herman K. Trabish, January 27, 2022 (California Current)

    Editor’s note: This imagined future is continues to beckon from just over the horizon as technologies and energy generation get smarter.

    Transactive Energy, an emerging approach to balancing the power system with flexible distributed energy resources, like rooftop solar and smart thermostats, took two important steps forward in the last month. The steps may lead to using far more transactive energy to improve power system reliability, lower emissions, and reduce utility bills.

    The underlying work has been pioneered by the Grid Wise Architecture Council in collaboration with the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. The term “transactive” applies to value-based transactions that use demand flexibility to manage the system, according to the Grid Wise Council. It may be used to manage a part of the system, like the residential demand response that reduces energy consumption to lower stress on the grid. Or it may be used to manage the power system from “generation to consumption,” the Grid Wise Council said.

    The first step toward making transactive energy a reality was a California Energy Commission initiative in December to enable automated responses to real-time price signals from grid-connected residential clean distributed energy resources. The second step was the Pacific Northwest Lab’s Jan. 25 release of the results from the biggest-ever transactive energy simulation, showing it can help balance a Texas-sized power system while lowering all customers’ costs.

    The proposed Energy Commission platform would allow automated responses to granular price signals from smart customer-owned clean energy technologies that reduce system costs. Capturing the demand flexibility of customer-owned resources could be worth as much as $267 million through 2040 at the distribution level in California, CEC staff estimated.

    The Pacific Northwest Lab transactive energy simulation showed a possible $5 billion per year net benefit from using demand flexibility to optimize an Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT)-sized power market. The simulation included over 100 generation sources through 40 utility distribution systems serving 60,000 homes and businesses with 100,000 smart devices, the lab reported.

    The simulation verified that “stable and effective coordination” of flexible assets could provide a 9% to 15% reduction in peak loads, and a 20% to 44% reduction in daily load, with more distributed energy resources having a greater impact. These benefits were possible because transactive energy harmonizes energy supply and demand by allowing automated negotiation of energy needs and costs by electricity suppliers, energy markets, the power system, and DER users, according to Pacific Northwest Lab… click here for more

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