- A report from the Smart Electric Power Alliance tries to demystify the idea of "transactive energy systems," outlining how coordinated systems using automation and control tools can help modernize the grid.
- Transactive energy has pushed utilities and customers to a "redefining point," but much work is needed on the regulatory and infrastructure side to advance the concepts beyond pilots, the report says.
- SEPA's analysis looks at a variety of transactive energy case studies, including a microgrid developed on Isle au Haut, a small island six miles offshore from Maine. Built by Introspective Systems, the system uses price-responsive adaptive control algorithms to manage heat pumps across the island, in coordination with other resources.
SEPA's report takes a look at four existing projects that utilize transactive energy systems to address varying issues. That is part of how the energy group says transactive systems will take hold: by "discussing problems that transactive energy can address."
Transactive systems can be used to help with the integration of distributed energy resources and obviate the need for expensive infrastructure upgrades, according to the report. The Isle au Haut system, for instance, cost less than the $1.7 million needed to replace a six-mile subsea cable linking the island to the state's main grid.
"Today, many people view transactive energy as just a buzzword, but the reality is — there are successful projects already in place," Medha Surampudy, author of the report and and senior research associate at SEPA, said in a statement.
Surampudy also said that while transactive energy is no longer "just a hypothetical," regulatory and infrastructure developments are still needed to grow adoption of these ideas.
"In an increasingly distributed energy environment, utilities have a role in facilitating micro-transactions," Surampudy said.
SEPA's report calls or regulators to include transactive energy in the solutions they explore when considering DER integration. If a transactive energy solution is applicable, "potential projects should be explored with utilities and their stakeholders," the report recommends.
Other projects discussed in the report include: a DER demonstration project funded by the Department of Energy on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State; a Retail Automated Transactive Energy System pilot in Thousand Oaks, California, on the Southern California Edison grid; and a Distribution System Platform demonstration in Buffalo, New York, with National Grid.