This project's overarching goal is to enable and spur the deployment of a broad range of distributed energy resource (DER) devices with the proven ability to provide the flexibility required for operating a clean and reliable power grid at reasonable cost. This flexibility is largely embodied in grid services that are provided by power plants today but increasingly reflected in wholesale market products or utility programs in which DERs participate. The project's objectives address the primary barriers that will limit the ability of devices to provide such services at scale in the future power grid.
DER devices include responsive load-serving equipment and appliances in buildings, various types of energy storage, electric vehicle chargers and batteries, smart inverters for photovoltaics (PV) solar and batteries, and fuel cells and electrolyzers. The project will address these DERs by defining a test protocol to characterize their ability to respond to grid signals.
Existing grid services include ancillary services (regulation, reserves) that keep the grid in supply-demand balance, managing peak loads to reduce infrastructure capacity requirements and managing wholesale purchase and production costs. Industry has also envisioned new reliability services from DERs such as artificial inertia and participation in remedial action schemes that enhance the reliability and stability of the bulk grid and new distribution-level services such as mitigating rapid voltage changes and reverse power flows from high solar PV penetrations. The project will define a standard set of grid services, and "drive cycles" that describe the capabilities that DERs must have to provide them.
In order for there to be an informed and expanding marketplace for DER devices, grid planners and operators need to be able to accurately and conveniently assess and value their capabilities to provide grid services and to have confidence they will perform as expected in the field. DER purchasers (i.e., utilities, third parties, and consumers) must also be confident that their investments in DERs can be recouped through the prices or incentives offered by the grid for services rendered. The project will conduct the following activities to address the need for assured performance and value from DERs in order to increase their penetration:
- In collaboration with industry, develop the device characterization protocol in a fashion suitable for testing by independent testing laboratories at reasonable cost, and promulgate the protocol with industry and standards development organizations as a voluntary standard rating system.
- Develop and validate a model-based procedure to extrapolate a device's ability to provide any grid service, based on metrics from its characterization test. This overcomes the time, expense, and complexity that would otherwise be involved in testing each device's ability to provide each grid service and many of the new services yet to be defined.
- Utilize the model to project the value of grid services provided by a DER device to purchasers by allowing that value to be included in the rating.
- Provide the validated models for integration into the planning and operational tools used by grid planners and operators so DERs can valued based on measured performance.