BLAST for Behind-the-Meter Applications Lite Tool
Part of the Battery Lifetime Analysis and Simulation Tool (BLAST) Suite, BLAST for Behind-the-Meter Applications Lite (BLAST-BTM Lite) provides a quick, user-friendly tool to size behind-the-meter energy storage devices used on site by utility customers for facility demand charge management. The tool employs simplified battery performance models for computational efficiency, and it includes a built-in algorithm to identify cost-optimal storage configurations.
BLAST-BTM Lite users can supply their own demand and photovoltaic (PV) generation power profiles. If this data is not available, users can alternatively employ historical facility demand profiles provided by energy intelligence software company EnerNOC and its nationwide network of utility partners and/or PV generation profiles provided by NREL's PV Watts calculator. A generic utility rate structure framework makes it possible to calculate electricity costs in a broad array of scenarios.
The BLAST-BTM Lite tool is available for download. Download tool.
How to Use the Tool
Optimizing a battery for a peak-shaving application is as simple as completing four main input sections, specifying an investment term for internal rate of return (IRR) calculations, and then clicking the "Run" button. To start using the tool, use these basic directions. For more detailed instructions, download full documentation on BLAST methodology.
The inputs listed below can be completed in any order, but they all must be completed for the algorithm to run.
- Hardware options
Input data for defining the battery performance and cost values employed by the simulation. Enter four factors: upfront installed cost, incentives, operational and maintenance costs, and hardware parameters. The latter defines the search space for system optimization.
- Demand and PV options
Select facility demand and PV production profiles. Choose between preloaded demand profiles from EnerNOC and PV profiles from PVWatts, or provide unique data via CSV document. See the BLAST documentation for proper CSV formatting.
- Rate structure values
Define demand charges and energy costs to best represent your utility rate structure of interest. Demand charges and energy costs are divided between off-, mid-, and on-peak periods of the day, as well as season of the year.
- Internal rate of return (IRR)
Specify the term in years of IRR by which the economic performance of energy storage systems will be evaluated.
After entering all four inputs, click the "Run" button. This will initiate the optimization algorithm.
When the optimization is complete, a figure is generated to present the calculated IRR for all of the simulated energy storage systems (ESS). Each data point represents a uniquely sized ESS. A second figure is produced to present the detailed performance of the system that provides the greatest IRR.
Options for saving figures can be found in the "File" menu. To export the data to a CSV file, click the "Write Results to CSV" button.
Please note: While BLAST-BTM software is free to download and use, technical support for the tool is not available and it's recommended that users download the manual in order to better understand the software. Technical support is available for the more robust BLAST tools in the suite.
For more information about BLAST-BTM Lite or other BLAST tools, contact Eric Wood, 303-275-3290.