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The US-based Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) has released a report that is says will help utilities and other industry stakeholders understand and prepare for the grid of the future.

"Transactive Energy: Real World Applications for an Evolving Grid" features four utility case studies from Maine to California, and is available for review.

As the grid evolves, the growth of distributed energy resources (DER) -- particularly behind the meter and out of visibility of the utility -- poses challenges to the planning, operation and oversight of the grid. Transactive energy systems, comprised of coordinated participants that use automation tools to communicate and exchange energy based on value and grid constraints, offer a potential approach forward.

The new report, titled “Transactive Energy: Real-World Applications for an Evolving Grid,” breaks down the definition of transactive energy and includes four real-world case studies from utilities:

  • Distribution System Platform (DSP) Demonstration in Buffalo, New York
  • Microgrid Project in Isle au Haut, Maine
  • Olympic Peninsula Demonstration Project in Olympic Peninsula, Washington
  • Retail Automated Transactive Energy System (RATES) Pilot in Thousand Oaks, California

SEPA says that the case studies show that transactive energy systems can employ a wide range of technologies including, but not limited to, solar, energy storage, demand response, smart meters, and distributed ledger technologies. Pilots today range from one-way automated price signals incentivizing behavior to two-way pricing, and are demonstrating real-world applications for the grid.

“Today, many people view transactive energy as just a buzzword, but the reality is -- there are successful projects already in place. In an increasingly distributed energy environment, utilities have a role in facilitating micro transactions. Regulatory and infrastructure developments are needed to scale these systems, but it’s no longer just a hypothetical,” said Medha Surampudy, author and senior research associate at SEPA.

The report was released as part of the Utility Business Model “pathway” or focus area that SEPA recently announced. It also announced a new pathway focused on Grid Integration.

“Electric utilities and regulators are at a redefining point of the relationship between energy providers and customers. Just as Napster changed the music industry, transactive energy has the potential to transform energy use at the edge of the grid,” said Mark Knight, co-author of the report, and an industry adviser at Burns & McDonnell.

 To download the complete report, Transactive Energy: Real-World Applications for an Evolving Grid, click here.

Are you interested in the way utilities are getting in step with the demand, adapting and staying ahead? We're hosting a webinar on the utility business model of the next decade on the 24th of April at 14h00GMT. Register now to hear from technology evangelists and experts from SEPA, Cambridge University and Greenbird Integration Technology.

This story was originally published on our sister-site, Renewable Energy World.