Community Control of Distributed Resources for Wide Area Reserve Provision

As distributed energy resources (DERs) proliferate, they have enormous potential to impact and transform distribution system operations and planning. Furthermore if they are coordinated properly DER also have the potential to make significant positive impacts on transmission-level operations, not only by means of providing energy and ancillary services, but also by facilitating services that legacy equipment typically provides, for example voltage regulation.

Our goal is to develop and demonstrate an advanced distribution management system (ADMS) that allows DERs to improve distribution system operations and simultaneously contribute to transmission-level services. In short, we envision (1) elevating load buses to the level of generator buses with respect to the degree of control authority they present to system operators and (2) simultaneously optimizing distribution-level measures such as resistive losses and nodal voltage magnitudes.

Accurate distribution network models and full state estimates are not widely available and require significant validation and sensing infrastructure investments if they are to be used as the sole means of decision-making in distribution systems. Therefore an important underlying goal in this research is to develop an ADMS that is fully capable of optimizing distribution system operations and providing transmission level services without requiring an accurate distribution network model or real time state estimates at every point in the system.

Furthermore we seek to develop and demonstrate an ADMS platform that is capable of operating in parallel and interoperable with legacy distribution management protocols and systems. As a result, the ADMS we develop can be implemented without disabling existing control actions. As distribution system operators gain confidence with the ADMS platform, legacy protocols can be subsumed by the ADMS as desired. This will facilitate broad but initially conservative rollout of the platform and give distribution system operators confidence that customer reliability and power quality will be maintained while providing a pathway to advanced control and communications infrastructure deployment and utilization. The project team combines crosscutting expertise in modeling, control, optimization, and hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) experimentation. LBNL and NREL bring significant expertise in network optimization and distributed control of power systems. SNL contributes an established track record in renewable resource forecasting. To translate algorithmic advances into laboratory prototypes, LBNL and SNL will apply HIL techniques to enable realistic validations. As a major outcome, industry partner, Smarter Grid Solutions, will lead tech-to-market efforts in developing a next-generation ADMS product.