Southern California Edison to Test Using Price Signals with DERs

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Southern California Edison will use transactive energy management software from Opus One Solutions to improve the dispatch of distributed solar panels using prices signals.

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By Fly_and_Dive/Shutterstock.com

Opus, a startup based in Toronto, Canada, says its software combines a market management system with a participant interface to engage customers and establish operating schedules for distributed energy resources that can meet grid needs.

The deployment, which is part of the utility’s Electric Access System Enhancement pilot project, partly funded by the Department of Energy, could provide important lessons leading to large-scale management of distributed energy resources, according to Opus.

The utility will use the Opus software — called GridOS Transactive Energy Management System — to manage distributed solar resources in its Camden substation area in Santa Ana. Through price signals, the utility will be able to communicate with and optimize the dispatch of the resources, according to Opus.

“This will allow SCE to explore cost-effective services for the grid through customer owned DER, and potential new revenue streams for its customers,” Opus said.

SCE may be an ideal utility for testing the transactive software. The utility describes itself as having  more than 300,000 customers with distributed solar, including about 3,100 customers that also have energy storage. It is connecting about 3,100 distributed solar systems a month.

The EASE demonstration project, started in 2017 with $4 million in DOE funding, aims to create a “interoperable distributed control architecture” to help manage DERs.

The project partly aims to explore ways to maximize the value of distributed energy resources by offering customer bill benefits, accessing wholesale markets, meeting local capacity requirements and providing distribution reliability services, according to a summary of the project.

The utility also hopes the project will lead to a faster interconnection process for distributed energy resources.

The project is moving from the lab testing phase to a field test using 100 SCE customers, according to the DOE.

“Utilities need a way to effectively accommodate more clean, distributed energy on their grids as the push for decarbonization of the industry accelerates,” said Mark Hormann, Opus One vice president of US sales. “A market-based approach, which brings time-varying prices to resources based on their location, helps achieve these goals while opening up new revenue streams for utilities and their customers.”

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