Distribution System and Grid Edge Hot Topics

Farrokh Rahimi
by Farrokh Rahimi, Ph.D., Senior VP, OATI

The electric industry landscape is undergoing significant changes due to increased use of renewable resources at both the bulk power and distribution levels and increased participation of demand-side agents in energy transactions. The salient features of the emerging electricity system and energy markets include bidirectional flow of energy, information, and money to and from the consumer/prosumer premises. Increased prosumer participation and changing interactions at the grid edge and at the transmission-distribution interface lead to the need for new distribution operation structures, procedures and tools, and new products and services at wholesale and retail levels.

Two major complementary developments are gaining momentum to help address these needs, namely, the Transactive Energy framework and the new Distribution System Operator (DSO) construct. The Transactive Energy framework expands the transactive paradigm established in mid-nineties for wholesale markets into the retail domain, with consumers/prosumers and the end-use intelligent devices and platforms as transactive counterparties. The DSO construct expands the conventional domain of operation of the distribution utility operator to include facilitation of retail markets and transactive exchanges while ensuring reliable distribution system operation.

In this emerging construct Transactive commodities at the retail level need not be limited to energy, but may also include energy derivatives as well as transport rights similar to their wholesale counterparts. Depending on the timing and nature of the transactions, the role of the DSO and its interactions with transactive agents may vary. For example, the role of the DSO may be advisory in forward transactions, helping the transactive agents verify physical deliverability of their transacted products where relevant. Close to real-time operation a combination of soft constraints such as price signals (resulting from transactions) and hard constraints (such as hard limits on current or power flows through constrained distribution facilities) may coexist.

These and other related issues of importance to the emerging electric industry landscape are hot topics addressed at ISGT NA 2019. Come and share your ideas, engage in discussions with your peers in panel sessions, poster sessions, plenary sessions, and during networking breaks. Also, plan to attend tutorials on Sunday, February 17 to learn from the experiences of your colleagues on their current research, development, and demonstration activities, and see some of these at the industry demonstrations sessions.