Monash develops energy exchange framework for DERs

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Monash University researchers have developed an energy exchange framework to better manage distributed energy resources (DERs), and help consumers lower their power costs.

The research paper, which was published in a leading international open-access journal, Energies, suggests the implementation of a transactive energy market (TEM) framework to help consumers lower their power costs, by reducing peak demand, and accessing revenues from the provision of network services, such as frequency and voltage management, for the main grid.

The increasing adoption of DERs, such as rooftop solar panels, is changing power grids from a centralised system, served by large-scale generators and transmission networks, to a more local and decentralised system.

In the evolving electricity market, customers benefit from using renewable energy resources, or DERs, to lower their electricity costs. Early DERs already in the market are rooftop solar photovoltaics (PVs) and residential batteries as well as electric vehicles. With the added help of energy management software that enables load flexibility, customers are able to act as a grid resource to provide energy flexibility and pass on these benefits to non-DER owners, thereby lowering the overall cost of energy systems.

Australia has more than two million installed rooftop solar panel systems, making up nearly one-quarter of the capacity of the overall electricity grid, and in some areas, local take-up of solar panels is well above 40 per cent of all customer premises. 

This developing trend on the path towards the decarbonisation and decentralisation of energy systems relies on a TEM framework to enable and incentivise DER owners to participate in different markets for grid support services. TEM is a technique that can be used to manage the exchange of energy within power systems in relation to the economic value of energy.

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Researchers Mohsen Khorasany, Donald Azuatalam, Robert Glasgow, Ariel Liebman and Reza Razzaghi, from the Faculty of Information Technology (IT), Faculty of Engineering, the Monash Energy Institute and the Monash Grid Innovation Hub, in collaboration with Monash eResearch Centre and the Net Zero team have created a TEM framework for DER-based transactive energy management and as a suitable tool for the design, implementation and deployment of a TEM for the management of microgrids.

“While transactive energy is a novel approach for energy management and trading, it has the capacity to be used in microgrids to facilitate the integration of DERs in existing networks,” Co-director of the Monash Grid Innovation Hub and Associate Professor at the Department of Data Science and AI, Faculty of IT, Ariel Liebman said.

“The key feature in transactive energy is using market-based, or dynamic pricing-based, solutions for energy management. Hence, an appropriate TEM framework which outlines the design, implementation, and deployment of transactive energy solutions for energy management in microgrids is one potential core ingredient for enabling a decentralised energy system.”

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Microgrids, both partially connected and disconnected ones, can implement TEM as part of a decentralised business model, to provide value streams by increasing energy security, economic benefits, and clean energy integration. The introduction of a TEM framework for energy management and trading would provide a market-based solution to allow both the demand and supply to actively negotiate the exchange of energy.

A growing number of emerging decentralised business models, including smart grids, virtual power plants (VPPs), and microgrids seek to capture and provide new value streams to customers and other stakeholders. 

These new business models for managing two-way power flows create new opportunities for securing higher penetration of DERs, providing economic value to the market as a whole, and value to consumers through reduced costs, increased uptake of renewables and increased reliability, and efficiencies and new business opportunities for distribution networks across the electricity sector. 

“From a grid perspective, the coordinated and controlled use of DERs provides substantial benefits for the stability of the broader network. The increase in the local value results from the potential participation of DERs in different markets also provides flexibility to prevent or relieve localised network performance issues,” said Dr Reza Razzaghi, Lecturer in the Faculty of Engineering. 

The applicability of this framework is demonstrated through the Monash Microgrid, a real-world example of a TEM solution, where a complete hardware and software foundation is presented as a platform to deploy a market-based solution for microgrid energy management. 

The Monash Microgrid, which is part of the Monash Net Zero Initiative, is able to receive and store energy from various renewable energy sources, while also controlling when and how energy is used. 

To read the research paper, please visit: https://www.mdpi.com/1996-1073/13/8/2010/htm.