The Austin SHINES program set out to establish a working business model for distributed energy resource (DER) optimization in grid, commercial and residential applications. Backed by a $4.3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy's Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO), the program aims to establish repeatable methodologies for designing and operating energy storage and solar PV on a grid.
Over the last three years, Austin Energy has designed and installed DERs with a diverse team of partners. Doosan GridTech collaborated with the utility to develop software control architecture and optimization strategies that enable load to be served at the lowest possible cost in a system with high distributed solar penetration. SHINES resources consist of Doosan's distributed energy resource optimizer platform, two utility-scale energy storage systems (ESS) designed and installed by Doosan, several customer-sited ESS at residential and commercial properties, smart inverters, real-time data feeds, and a vehicle-to-grid (electric vehicle) component.
The program includes more than 5 MW total of energy storage and PV assets – with resources on both sides of the meter. The scale and variety of Austin SHINES resources allow the utility to explore, test and evaluate different asset mixes and dispatch strategies under different scenarios to develop and document replicable best practices. SHINES resources include:
Utility-scale energy storage + PV
- 2.5 MW PV at La Loma Community Solar Farm
- 1.5 MW / 3 MWh Li-Ion Battery Storage at the Kingsbery location
- 1.5 MW / 2.5 MWh Li-Ion Battery Storage at the Mueller location
Commercial energy storage + PV
- Aggregated storage installations at three site
- One 18 kW / 36 kWh Li-Ion Battery Storage installation
- Two 72 kW / 144 kWh Li-Ion Battery Storage installations
- All sites have existing solar (300+ kW)
Residential energy storage + PV
- Aggregated storage installations at six homes (10 kWh each)
- Each with existing rooftop solar
- Utility-Controlled Solar via Smart Inverters at twelve homes
- Autonomously Controlled Smart Inverters at six homes
Austin Energy and Doosan GridTech designed a tiered control architecture built around two key software systems: Doosan GridTech's DERO® (Distributed Energy Resource Optimizer®) and DG-IC® (Doosan GridTech Intelligent Controller®). DERO serves as the centralized brain that coordinates and optimizes all of the DERs in the SHINES system, while the DG-IC provides intelligent local control of the grid-scale storage systems. DERO receives a holistic range of real-time and predictive inputs and optimizes value over assets and applications through dispatch of the DG-ICs as well as behind-the-meter (BTM) commercial and residential controllers that aggregate customer systems and data. Together, they constitute a robust, cohesive control architecture that involves all assets, even those on the customer side of the meter.
Holistic results begin with the distributed controllers. They operate in the field with both a level of autonomy and continuous communication with central command. Doosan's DG-IC is capable of providing real-time monitoring and control of 50 or more PCS-battery banks, solar PV, and auxiliary devices within a customizable control system. It also provides data back to inform central control intelligence through open communication standards.
Communications between SHINES assets utilize Modular Energy Storage Architecture (MESA) standards. Open standards allow the utility to more easily integrate control units from different vendors and still feed up into the enterprise system. This approach overcomes the siloes that often remain from legacy systems and equip the utility to scale up to meet future needs. Open standards allow resources of many types, ages, and owners on either side of the meter to contribute inputs to DERO seamlessly. The holistic analysis this abundance of input data enables unlocks new levels of actionable intelligence that provide even deeper value.
More connections can mean more points of vulnerability, so Austin SHINES also includes layers of security protocols, equipping the utility to control and customize access. The design provides a three-tier alarm system to ensure safe operation and provide immediate troubleshooting visibility to utility operators.
Equipped with the multiple streams of information it receives, DERO optimizes across the top five use cases that Austin Energy identified as most important to operational and economic value. These are energy arbitrage, peak load reduction, real-time price dispatch, congestion management and voltage management. DERO has the processing power to continuously and autonomously analyze multiple types of information to select the most valuable set of use cases at each time interval. Each asset in Austin SHINES' diverse set of DERs can be dispatched individually or in conjunction with other assets to best perform the set of use cases DERO selects for implementation, leading to a measurably optimized grid.
The lessons learned through the Austin SHINES program on how to maximize value in high DER-penetration systems can be used as an operational template to utilities in any market structure or region grappling with the influx of DERs. Using a holistic approach similar to Austin SHINES, utilities can recognize the potential value DERs bring to utility systems and the broader power grid.
This is Doosan GridTech's second article of a 3-part series on the Austin SHINES Program. Watch for our final article in January.