Image: PNNL

The transactive energy concept is to be further explored in two new projects in the US led by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL).

The projects focus on technology deployment in Spokane, Washington and on simulations of Texas’ primary power grid, operated by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT).

The two projects are intended to build on earlier initiatives undertaken by the PNNL, including the Pacific Northwest Smart Grid Demonstration among others.

They also form part of the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) ‘Connected community’ vision of grid-interactive buildings in which transactions are executed between the power grid, homes and commercial buildings to balance distributed energy resources such as solar PVs, batteries and electric vehicles.

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‘Transactive energy’ was coined by the GridWise Architecture Council, the team of experts convened by the DOE to advise on the future electricity system, to refer to techniques for managing the generation, flow and consumption of electricity through the use of economic or market-based constructs while considering grid reliability constraints – the ‘transactive’ reflecting a value.

While commonly used in the US, its use has not caught on outside, although the underlying flexibility concept is obviously being increasingly developed.

“Getting to the future transactive system will require advanced and automated control and coordination methods to enable the participation of flexible electrical loads,” says Hayden Reeve, PNNL programme manager.

“PNNL possesses longstanding transactive energy expertise and over time we have advanced simulation and demonstration capabilities that are now being applied in these two projects.”

Transactive energy projects

The project in Spokane with Avista Utilities aims to test techniques including intelligent load control, transactive coordination and control and automated fault detection in buildings to turn them into flexible loads. The aim is to refine previously developed techniques and to formulate a shared energy model and template for other building owners and communities to implement similar technologies.

The project in Texas is a national impact study to examine how the rapidly emerging distributed energy resources can be more effectively integrated into the electricity distribution system and contribute to grid reliability and resilience. Large-scale modelling, simulation and analysis based on ERCOT’s infrastructure footprint will be extrapolated to reflect a national impact.

Various utilities across the US already interact with smart appliances in buildings and homes to manage peak energy use. But the broader transactive energy vision is more comprehensive, impactful and daunting, says a PNNL statement.

The two projects are supported respectively by the US DOE Building Technologies Office and the Office of Electricity.