The Pacific Northwest Smart Grid Demonstration Project is into its third year and over the next two years will be collecting and analyzing energy use data to understand how smart grid concepts can provide regional benefits.

This project is performing the foundational research and development for Transactive Control. QualityLogic is one of the partners in this project and has been tasked with assuring interoperability between the nodes of the system. Interoperability not only ensures that additional nodes can easily join and participate in transactive control, it also fosters an eco-system of system management and analysis tools. The project has already captured over 100 million data points, and the analytical tools developed by QualityLogic are being used today to ensure the quality of the operational and data collection activities of the project.

Transactive Control System for the Pacific Northwest Smart Grid Demo Project

The Transactive Control system for the demonstration project is made up of transactive nodes that are instantiated at the sites of the utility participants in the project and the EIOC (Electric Information Operations Center) located at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, WA. These nodes exchange transactive incentive and feedback signals between them using standard internet protocols. This exchange of information allows for renewable energy resources to be balanced across the region using a distributed system.

For the demonstration project, the transactive nodes have also been instrumented so that the system of nodes can be monitored and data regarding the experiments1 can be collected for analysis. QualityLogic has assembled a set of requirements for the transactive nodes participating in the project and has developed a suite of conformance tests that must be passed prior to connection to the demonstration system. Specifically, QualityLogic has tested that the transactive signals, the system monitoring and collected data all conform to the requirements established by the project for each and every node.

Interoperability Challenges of the Transactive Control System

One of the challenges of the project has been to get all of the nodes running at each site, exchanging the transactive signals and then acting on the transactive information. This has required monitoring the connectivity of the nodes, as well as the quality of the information that is exchanged. Using the data collection information that each node is required to provide to the EIOC, QualityLogic has created a set of interoperability and data analysis reports. These interoperability reports have been instrumental in identifying system startup, connectivity and signaling issues in the fledgling system. These reports provide a view into the interactions of the nodes at the system level. With one quick glance at these reports, you can determine if a node is connected or not, or if the incentive and feedback signals are being exchanged properly.

Other reports have been created for attributes or information specific to an individual node. One example report is shown below. The latency (or transfer time) between a transactive node located at a site utility and its neighboring node that is modeled at the EIOC is displayed. While transactive control is not dependent on system latencies, such reports have shown that system clocks may not be aligned or are drifting apart and would eventually cause problems.

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Working closely with Battelle, QualityLogic has also provided data analysis and visualization techniques that have helped in identifying modeling or other issues with respect to creation of the transactive control signals. These detailed analysis reports have been created to determine the quality of the system model and the accuracy of the prediction models used in the transactive control signals, for example.

The fact that all nodes in the system were instrumented and conformed to a common set of messages and data allowed QualityLogic to create such a set of analysis tools relatively easily. These analysis and reporting methods are one example of the type of eco-system that can be established when interoperability and conformance to a set of requirements is maintained.

QualityLogic continues to support the project by developing analytical tools to address data quality issues.

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1. Each utility participating in the project has created one or more experiments where transactive control is used for controlling responsive assets such as water heaters, smart appliances, or distributed generation.