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Updated Transactive Control Node on VOLTTRON

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Based on and supported by the Pacific Northwest Regional Smart Grid Demonstration Project (PNW-SGDP), QualityLogic is developing a specification to update the Transactive Control (TC) technology that was developed and implemented in the demonstration project. This architecture and design enable Transactive Energy (TE) systems. We are implementing the updated TC Node with the Open Source VOLTTRON environment from PNNL as the underlying platform. The design will provide the industry with a common platform for early Transactive Energy research and pilots.

The updated specification defines the standard interactions, interfaces and class structures of a TC Node. It includes the ability to extend a node to use smart grid standards, such as OpenADR, MultiSpeak, IEC 61850 and others exchanging incentive (price) and load information (called Transactive Incentive and Transactive Feedback signals or TIS/TFS) between nodes, along with control of the assets associated with each node.

The TC Node built on the VOLTTRON Platform goes hand-in-hand with the specification. The specification describes the main TC Node objects, basic local services (such as weather and data collection), and provides guidance as to building a base node. Algorithms for updating the signals and specific toolkit functions are provided by PNW-SGDP documents developed during the project.

The updated node has been designed with improvements learned in the demonstration project and extended to reflect the work QualityLogic has done in using smart grid standards for incentive and load information exchange and asset control. The role of the asset model and interfaces to assets is clarified and expanded upon.

Updated TC Node Reference Implementation

The reference implementation is based on the VOLTTRON 2.0 platform, where the node objects are implemented as Agents. The reference implementation implements a Toolkit Framework Agent, along with other node Agents whose configuration, interactions, and class structures are defined by the specification. For each of the node Agents, examples are provided so that the reference implementation is a fully functioning node. The example agents will include:

  • A Neighbor Connector Agent that exchanges TIS/TFS using OpenADR
  • A Load Toolkit function that manages some form of distributed resource such as a Battery storage
  • A Resource Toolkit Function that incorporates wholesale demand charges
  • A sample Asset Model that includes support for accessing the asset control system using IEC 61850, OpenADR 2 or MultiSpeak
  • An asset interface for one or more sample assets

The development also includes tools to support development and testing of the node including.

  • The QualityLogic Transactive Energy Test Harness that can show that the signal exchange of TIS/TFS is conformant to the specification
  • A TIS/TFS workload generator used to create signals for node debug and development
  • Visualization tool showing the TIS/TFS and other data that is collected via the data collection services.

The VOLTTRON development divided into 3 phases:

  • Phase A: Base framework and skeleton toolkit functions developed to pass TIS/TFS exchange conformance tests on the QLI Test Harness.
  • Phase B: Resource and Load Toolkit functions developed along with proper data collection. A Simple visualization tool will be able to show TIS/TFS exchanges with local assets via industry standard protocols.
  • Phase C: A specific asset system will be emulated and feedback from the asset incorporated into the toolkit function and node.

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