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Energy Power Research Institute Shows Benefits of Grid-Connected Devices at NREL

The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and a team of partners have developed and validated at the Energy Systems Integration Facility (ESIF) means by which smart, connected consumer devices can act to enable the use of more clean energy technologies on the electric power grid.

Bethany Sparn is pictured with a communicating pool pump that can adjust its speed to provide grid services.

Photo by John De La Rosa

Project partners have demonstrated how products might be managed to ease or mitigate certain impacts of distributed energy resources by evaluating open standard interfaces to enable interoperability and to accelerate product availability.

With real-time status monitoring of the connected devices, a utility system could be built to aggregate the information from the devices to indicate how much power they can supply to the grid if needed and how much power they can absorb from the grid. Aggregated across populations of devices, this approach can provide grid operators or other load management systems with real-time measure of the size of resource that exists at a given time.

“Using the concept of an open communications platform to create standard messaging to better manage smart, connected devices and distributed energy resource groups, EPRI and NREL were able to develop new control scenarios that could increase the density of renewable resources on a typical distribution feeder.” - John Simmins, technical executive at EPRI.