Clean Energy and Transactive Campus

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) is teaming with Washington State University (WSU) and the University of Washington (UW) to form a multi-campus network and conduct research that advances transactive control of distributed energy resources.

Key goals of the research include demonstrating significant energy cost savings are possible in commercial buildings and integration of renewables at a regional scale by using the transactive control technology to coordinate number of energy assets.  These distributed energy resources could include building loads, energy storage systems, smart inverters for photovoltaic (PV) solar systems, and electric vehicles.  Although the ultimate goal of the research will address coordination at four physical scales—single building, single campus, multi-campus, and community micro-grid—the first phase of the work will only test transactive controls at the building scale.

The DOE funds for the project are matched by an investment by the Washington Department of Commerce through the Clean Energy Fund (CEF).  These funds will be used to establish testbeds (e.g., PV panels, smart inverters) and procure control and communication equipment enabling each of the team partners to configure their campus to support research that advances the state of knowledge in three key areas of critical interest to DOE:

  • transactive energy management for building and campus energy efficiency
  • transactive coordination of campus assets to support integration of PV and provide energy cost reduction
  • transactive control of a campus-scale micro-grid connected to a community distribution system to explore "smart city" and grid resiliency concepts.

In addition, all of the campuses will be linked so that experiments can be undertaken to show how coordination of large numbers of devices can facilitate integration of renewable wind generation at scale.  Finally, the universities will collaborate to develop new, multi-disciplinary curricula that combine the disciplines of information and control technology, distribution systems engineering, building systems engineering, and energy economics.  This will start a pipeline of skilled science and technology professionals.