Powernet connects buildings via their Hubs to the cloud software coordination platform, Cloud Coordinator (CC). The CC system integrates physical, software application, and user-driven functional components, each contributing to the overall goal of optimally, scalably and securely coordinating grid resources. We add to this technology a market context to create values for grid services that these systems will deliver based on current grid conditions.

The power grid is changing rapidly. In California, renewables on the utility side of the meter are expected to provide 50% or more of the load by 2030, requiring significant distributed energy resources (DERs) to help integrate those renewables. In addition, greatly expanded numbers of DERs, such as distributed solar, storage, and EVs, are expected on the customer side of the meter and on the utility side, all connecting to the distribution grid and at the periphery of the power network. The profile of loads is changing with numerous opportunities for improved control. There is an urgent need to coordinate these resources to: (i) minimize costs, (ii) increase consumer quality of service, (iii) preserve grid stability, and (iv) offer services to the grid in an economically sustainable way.

Fundamental components of Powernet will be developed using ARPA-e funding: behind-the-meter Hub, Multiscale Optimizer, an open protocol OpenDER and Data Analytics. This project will develop and implement grid services and simulate market interactions. The system will be validated at the Smart Grid Laboratory at SLAC and field tested at a Navy base in a CA IOU service area. The project partners—SLAC, the Navy, and key technical advisor Nest—will work with a CA IOU utility to validate the appropriateness of the concept and provide a path for adoption.

Several significant Powernet system innovations would be developed under this proposal: (i) the integration of control, optimization and power electronics would enable novel functionality—stable connect/disconnect from the grid, and local and global power sharing and grid services; (ii) the layered structure of the system will enable the operator to utilize Powernet for a variety of different grid purposes or service offerings with the assurance that those are always done on top of an economically optimal operating point every second; (iii) the system would be robust and secure by design; and (iv) the system would adopt open-source standards and establish an open protocol (OpenDER) for the platform to enable scalable engagement of devices in the future.

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