Virtual Battery-based Characterization and Control of Flexible Building Loads Using VOLTTRON

The overall goal of this task is to enable utilities to use flexible building loads as virtual storage resources to provide grid services, integrate more renewable generation such as wind and photovoltaics (PV), and improve building operational efficiency. This will be accomplished by meeting the following five objectives:

  1. Understanding the capacity of virtual storage resources (i.e., commercial building HVAC equipment, residential loads, ice storage, refrigeration systems, etc.), at a national scale, as a percentage of total system generation capacity akin to the analyses of Rosenfeld and colleagues of new efficiency opportunities;
  2. Developing a methodology for characterizing the flexibility of building virtual storage at any scale from a single load in a building (e.g., a chiller) to the aggregate load of all buildings (or participating buildings) in a utility-service territory;
  3. Performing regional and national assessments to identify and quantify utility and building owner/occupant benefits for actual physical and virtual storage systems;
  4. Developing algorithms that optimally control building loads to behave as virtual storage and thereby provide grid services while meeting the needs of building occupants (e.g., comfort, health, and safety); and
  5. Implementing the control algorithms as applications in the VOLTTRON deployment platform and evaluating the performance of the control strategies in realistic environments using the PNNL, ORNL, NREL, Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), Bosch and United Technologies Research Center (UTRC) building/grid test facilities.