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Title: VOLTTRON-Based System for Providing Ancillary Services with Residential Building Loads

Abstract

Ancillary services entail controlled modulation of building equipment to maintain a stable balance of generation and load in the power system. Ancillary services include frequency regulation and contingency reserves, whose acting time ranges from several seconds to several minutes. Many pilot studies have been implemented to use industrial loads to provide ancillary services, and some have explored services from commercial building loads or electric vehicle charging loads. Residential loads, such as space conditioning and water heating, represent a largely untapped resource for providing ancillary services. The residential building sector accounts for a significant fraction of the total electricity use in the United States. Many loads in residential buildings are flexible and could potentially be curtailed or shifted at the request of the grid. However, there are many barriers that prevent residential loads being widely used for ancillary services. One of the major technical barriers is the lack of communication capabilities between end-use devices and the grid. End-use devices need to be able to receive the automatic generation control (AGC) signal from the grid operator and supply certain types of telemetry to verify response. With the advance of consumer electronics, communication-enabled, or 'connected,' residential equipment has emerged to overcome the communicationmore » barrier. However, these end-use devices have introduced a new interoperability challenge due to the existence of numerous standards and communication protocols among different end devices. In this paper, we present a VOLTTRON-based system that overcomes these technical challenges and provides ancillary services with residential loads. VOLTTRON is an open-source control and sensing platform for building energy management, facilitating interoperability solutions for end devices. We have developed drivers to communicate and control different types of end devices through standard-based interfaces, manufacturer-provided application programming interfaces, and proprietary communication interfaces. We document the ability to manage nine appliances, using four different standards or proprietary communication methods. A hardware-in-the-loop test was performed in a laboratory environment where the loads of a laboratory home and a large number of simulated homes are controlled by an aggregator. Upon receipt of an AGC signal, the VOLTTRON home energy management system (HEMS) of the laboratory home adjusts the end-device controls based on the comfort criteria set by the end users and sends telemetry to the aggregator to verify response. The aggregator then sends the AGC signal to other simulated homes in attempts to match the utility request as closely as possible. Frequency regulation is generally considered a higher value service than other ancillary services but it is also more challenging due to the constraint of short response time. A frequency regulation use case has been implemented with the regulation signals sent every 10 seconds. Experimental results indicate that the VOLTTRON-controlled residential loads are able to be controlled with sufficient fidelity to enable an aggregator to meet frequency regulation requirements. Future work is warranted, such as understanding the impact of this type of control on equipment life, and market requirements needed to open up residential loads to ancillary service aggregators.« less

Authors:
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Building Technologies Office (EE-5B)
OSTI Identifier:
1262191
Report Number(s):
NREL/PR-5500-66730
DOE Contract Number:
AC36-08GO28308
Resource Type:
Conference
Resource Relation:
Conference: Presented at the 2016 Intelligent Building Operations (IBO) Workshop, 10-13 July 2016, West Lafayette, Indiana
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
32 ENERGY CONSERVATION, CONSUMPTION, AND UTILIZATION; ancillary service; demand response; VOLTTRON; smart grid; connected appliance; residential building; building load; hardware-in-the-loop

Citation Formats

Jin, Xin. VOLTTRON-Based System for Providing Ancillary Services with Residential Building Loads. United States: N. p., 2016. Web.
Jin, Xin. VOLTTRON-Based System for Providing Ancillary Services with Residential Building Loads. United States.
Jin, Xin. 2016. "VOLTTRON-Based System for Providing Ancillary Services with Residential Building Loads". United States. doi:. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1262191.
@article{osti_1262191,
title = {VOLTTRON-Based System for Providing Ancillary Services with Residential Building Loads},
author = {Jin, Xin},
abstractNote = {Ancillary services entail controlled modulation of building equipment to maintain a stable balance of generation and load in the power system. Ancillary services include frequency regulation and contingency reserves, whose acting time ranges from several seconds to several minutes. Many pilot studies have been implemented to use industrial loads to provide ancillary services, and some have explored services from commercial building loads or electric vehicle charging loads. Residential loads, such as space conditioning and water heating, represent a largely untapped resource for providing ancillary services. The residential building sector accounts for a significant fraction of the total electricity use in the United States. Many loads in residential buildings are flexible and could potentially be curtailed or shifted at the request of the grid. However, there are many barriers that prevent residential loads being widely used for ancillary services. One of the major technical barriers is the lack of communication capabilities between end-use devices and the grid. End-use devices need to be able to receive the automatic generation control (AGC) signal from the grid operator and supply certain types of telemetry to verify response. With the advance of consumer electronics, communication-enabled, or 'connected,' residential equipment has emerged to overcome the communication barrier. However, these end-use devices have introduced a new interoperability challenge due to the existence of numerous standards and communication protocols among different end devices. In this paper, we present a VOLTTRON-based system that overcomes these technical challenges and provides ancillary services with residential loads. VOLTTRON is an open-source control and sensing platform for building energy management, facilitating interoperability solutions for end devices. We have developed drivers to communicate and control different types of end devices through standard-based interfaces, manufacturer-provided application programming interfaces, and proprietary communication interfaces. We document the ability to manage nine appliances, using four different standards or proprietary communication methods. A hardware-in-the-loop test was performed in a laboratory environment where the loads of a laboratory home and a large number of simulated homes are controlled by an aggregator. Upon receipt of an AGC signal, the VOLTTRON home energy management system (HEMS) of the laboratory home adjusts the end-device controls based on the comfort criteria set by the end users and sends telemetry to the aggregator to verify response. The aggregator then sends the AGC signal to other simulated homes in attempts to match the utility request as closely as possible. Frequency regulation is generally considered a higher value service than other ancillary services but it is also more challenging due to the constraint of short response time. A frequency regulation use case has been implemented with the regulation signals sent every 10 seconds. Experimental results indicate that the VOLTTRON-controlled residential loads are able to be controlled with sufficient fidelity to enable an aggregator to meet frequency regulation requirements. Future work is warranted, such as understanding the impact of this type of control on equipment life, and market requirements needed to open up residential loads to ancillary service aggregators.},
doi = {},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = 2016,
month = 7
}

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  • The adoption of low carbon energy technologies such as variable renewable energy and electric vehicles, coupled with the efficacy of energy efficiency to reduce traditional base load has increased the uncertainty inherent in the net load shape. Handling this variability with slower, traditional resources leads to inefficient system dispatch, and in some cases may compromise reliability. Grid operators are looking to future energy technologies, such as automated demand response (DR), to provide capacity-based reliability services as the need for these services increase. While DR resources are expected to have the flexibility characteristics operators are looking for, demonstrations are necessary tomore » build confidence in their capabilities. Additionally, building owners are uncertain of the monetary value and operational burden of providing these services. To address this, the present study demonstrates the ability of demand response resources providing two ancillary services in the PJM territory, synchronous reserve and regulation, using an OpenADR 2.0b signaling architecture. The loads under control include HVAC and lighting at a big box retail store and variable frequency fan loads. The study examines performance characteristics of the resource: the speed of response, communications latencies in the architecture, and accuracy of response. It also examines the frequency and duration of events and the value in the marketplace which can be used to examine if the opportunity is sufficient to entice building owners to participate.« less
  • In this study, we examine the arrangements for andexperiences of end-use loads providing ancillary services (AS) in fiveelectricity markets: Australia, the United Kingdom (UK), the Nordicmarket, and the ERCOT and PJM markets in the United States. Our objectivein undertaking this review of international experience was to identifyspecific approaches or market designs that have enabled customer loads toeffectively deliver various ancillary services (AS) products. We hopethat this report will contribute to the ongoing discussion in the U.S.and elsewhere regarding what institutional and technical developments areneeded to ensure that customer loads can meaningfully participate in allwholesale electricity markets.
  • In this study, we examine the arrangements for and experiences of end-use loads providing ancillary services (AS) in five electricity markets: Australia, the United Kingdom (UK), the Nordic market, and the ERCOT and PJM markets in the United States. Our objective in undertaking this review of international experience was to identify specific approaches or market designs that have enabled customer loads to effectively deliver various ancillary services (AS) products. We hope that this report will contribute to the ongoing discussion in the U.S. and elsewhere regarding what institutional and technical developments are needed to ensure that customer loads can meaningfullymore » participate in all wholesale electricity markets.« less
  • Most of the commercially important ancillary services involve maintaining or restoring the generation and load real-power balance over varying time frames. Traditionally utilities have addressed this problem almost exclusively by controlling generation. It does not have to be this way, however. The important concept is to balance load and generation, which can be done using either side of the balancing equation. Controlling load may be the single largest untapped resource currently available to the electricity industry. Restructuring is beginning to provide a framework within which this resource could be exploited. Several obstacles exist (primarily related to aggregation, communications, and economicmore » incentives) but technical and commercial solutions to these problems also exist.« less