GE Global Research Partners with Enbala Power Networks for ARPA-E NODES Project

Project Leverages Leading Edge Distributed Energy Resource Management Technology to Improve Efficiency and Reliability of the U.S. Electrical Grid

Vancouver, B.C., and Denver, CO.  Enbala Power Networks has been selected by General Electric Global Research as a key partner in its DOE-funded ARPA-E Network Optimized Distributed Energy Systems (NODES) project. The $3.9 million project’s objective is to create transformational distributed flexibility resource (DFR) technology that aggregates responsive flexible loads and distributed energy resources (DERs) to provide synthetic reserve services to the grid while maintaining high customer quality-of-service. Specifically, a fast reserve similar to a regulating/spinning reserve and a multi-hour, ramping reserve will be developed to provide the same kind of grid balancing flexibility now provided by power plants and large-scale demand response.

Other project participants include GE Energy Consulting, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Consolidated Edison, Inc., Southern California Edison, Sacramento Municipal Utility District and California Independent System Operator.

The 12 NODES projects, including this one, aim to develop innovative and disruptive technologies for real-time management of T&D networks through system-wide control and coordination of flexible load and DERs. In a DOE press release ARPA-E Director Dr. Ellen D. Williams commented, “The research and development of these grid control technologies will make the concept of virtual energy storage a practical reality. The result will enhance the resiliency, security and flexibility of our nation’s electric grid and allow the U.S. to make the best use of its abundant renewable energy resources.”

One novel aspect of the GE ARPA-E project is development of a tool that will use short-term and real-time weather forecasts along with other data to estimate the reserve potential of aggregate loads and DERs on a day-ahead basis. An optimization framework that will enable aggregation of large numbers of flexible loads and DERs and determine the optimal day-ahead schedule to bid into the market will also be developed. This will provide the grid with the flexible resources required to meet the transformational requirements of today’s evolving grid, while also opening up new opportunities for customers to monetize their assets.

Using its Symphony by Enbala distributed energy resource management platform, Enbala is responsible for the project’s control infrastructure and for working collaboratively with Consolidated Edison to recruit a diverse set of customers and distributed energy assets. The advanced control functionality developed within the NODES project will be implemented as micro-services leveraging the GE Predix cloud platform.

“This is an innovative project that will effectively demonstrate how grid edge assets can be effectively networked into virtual storage systems that manage the intermittency of renewable energy and help us meet the growing operational challenges of grid infrastructure management,” commented Enbala President and CEO Arthur “Bud” Vos.

The DFR technology being created must be able to aggregate and control thousands of customer DERs in real time and match them with production projections. GE electrical engineer Naresh Acharya explained that this project will enable a grid that can reliably manage a power mix where nearly half or more is supplied by renewables.