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Omnetric Group Demonstrates Distributed Grid-Edge Control Hierarchy at NREL

At the Energy Systems Integration Facility (ESIF), OMNETRIC Group demonstrated a distributed control hierarchy—based on an open field message bus (OpenFMB) framework—that allows control decisions to be made at the edge of the grid with more timely response to changing conditions. This open-source-based, interoperable platform allows distributed energy assets to communicate in real time with intelligent grid devices in the field. 

OMNETRIC Group installed an in-field functional demonstration microgrid at two locations, including the Joint Base San Antonio, a joint Army and Navy post in Texas.

Photo by Andrew Hudgins

OpenFMB was demonstrated to support large-scale complex operations, which allow for the integration and wider penetration of renewable energy resources. OMNETRIC Group first developed and validated the system in the ESIF with a combination of hardware and software simulations representing real-world utility scale operations.

In collaboration with Siemens and working with project partners Duke Energy, CPS Energy, and the University of Texas San Antonio (UTSA), OMNETRIC Group then demonstrated its system on two in-field functional demonstration microgrids: one owned by Duke Energy and a second at Joint Base San Antonio, a joint Army and Navy post in Texas. The Texas system combines a photovoltaic system, battery storage, a low-cost "sky cam" developed by UTSA for weather prediction and a microgrid management system developed by Siemens. The system functioned well as the microgrid was islanded from the larger grid and then reconnected. Both utilities are using the successful demonstrations to guide their long-term distributed resource and microgrid strategies.

“We were able to successfully verify a new grid framework and integrate Siemens Microgrid management software with intelligent and legacy grid systems. As a consequence, we can offer utilities augmented operational systems, enhanced integration with field devices, and better grid-edge interoperability and distributed intelligence, helping them move towards a smarter and greener future.” - Shailendra Grover, senior manager of Smart Grid Integration & Security, OMNETRIC Group

Read a T&D article about this project.