CAISO project simplifies grid-solar integration


California Independent System Operator (CAISO) is an independent, non-profit Independent System Operator (ISO), serving California.

The CAISO oversees the operation of California’s bulk electric power system, transmission lines, and electricity market generated and transmitted by its member utilities.

The smart energy project included the use of smart grid technologies and various measures to simplify integration of solar energy sources with the grid to ensure grid reliability.

The project began in 2013 and was facilitated by a consortium of companies including energy consulting firm AWS TruePower, the Pacific NorthWest National Laboratory, Siemens SmartGrid and Southern California Edison.

The $799,970 programme was funded under the DoE’s SunShot project.

The project focused on developing a mechanism which allows utility companies to integrate solar energy sources with the grid without affecting grid reliability and increasing the energy prices for consumers.

The consortium ensured that conventional energy sources weren’t used as power reserves to support the grid. [US DoE issues funding for energy storage projects].

In a combined statement, AWS TruePower, wrote: “The integrated tools include advanced probabilistic solar power forecasts, new uncertainty quantification methods, and flexible ramping algorithms in the unit commitment and dispatch processes.”

[quote] Ken Pennock, director of grid solutions at AWS Truepower, added: “This project showed that the consideration of all sources of uncertainty over a large area combined with the comprehensive evaluation of all elements of the balancing process, i.e. capacity, ramping, and energy requirements, will help system operators more effectively balance generation against load and interchange.”

Smart energy project approval

The news follows an early June announcement by the  California Independent System Operator (CAISO) that it received approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to deploy a smart energy project.

The programme aims to increase the integration of distributed energy resources with the electric grid.

The grid system operator will help individual energy resources too small to participate in the wholesale market by grouping them together to meet the market’s 0.5MW capacity generation requirements.

Steve Berberich, CEO of ISO, commented: “This is a step toward the re-design of the power grid.

“We are seeing a shift from a one-way centralized system to a two-way decentralized system. This will open new market opportunities for distributed energy resource products and services, which will be instrumental to grid reliability in an emerging era of renewable power,” added Berberich.

CAISO had submitted the proposal to deploy the programme in early March. Moreover, CAISO is required to hand over a report on the implementation efforts in six months and an annual performance review for the next three years.


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