Fostering Successful g+t


Fostering Successful G&T Demand Side Management Strategies with Distribution Member Cooperatives

When it comes to the relationship between Generation and Transmission (G&T) cooperatives and their distribution cooperative members, G&Ts must strive to find the balance between leading and following. Often, this balance is driven by honoring the individuality of the cooperatives they serve while also providing services that promote the welfare of the greater good.

One thing fostering successful partnerships between these types of entities is the incorporation of Demand Side Management Strategies into the supply equation. These strategies allow G&Ts to take advantage of their distribution cooperatives’ demand side resources, such as air conditioners, water heaters, irrigation pumps, and the like. When properly harnessed and aggregated into a centralized platform, like a Demand Response Management System (DRMS), these resources provide both reliability and economic value to the G&T and to the greater good of the member cooperatives.

In order to be highly effective at the G&T level, a centralized DRMS should provide a core set of functionality that includes: accurate Demand Response (DR) availability forecasting, the ability to centrally schedule and dispatch DR events and systematically provide the right notifications, the ability to aggregate assets by a variety of characteristics that include performance monitoring, solid measurement, and verification, to name just a few.

It is essential that these systems integrate with the distribution member cooperative’s systems, such as Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) or load control head-ends where the assets are connected via load control switches (or the equivalent). Often, data from customer information and/or Meter Data Management (MDM) systems are also required to support a full lifecycle DR process.

Two key areas of consideration when centralizing the command and control of DR at the G&T level are:

1.   Independence and Freedom of Choice
Honoring the individuality of each distribution cooperative means allowing for freedom of choice. Where agreed to, standardization on some technologies across a G&T membership can make sense. The distribution Co-ops, however, should not be forced to adopt a single standard simply due to a deficient centralized system.

A robust centralized DRMS platform will encompass an integration layer rich with capabilities, allowing the system to embrace interoperability with many varying systems and technologies. It should proactively adhere to grid interoperability standards such as Common Information Model (CIM), MultiSpeak, DNP, and OpenADR. This integration layer should also provide Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) for web services and have the ability to manage and automate data exchanges, as well as the ability to monitor head end systems for a heartbeat to ensure they are available. A G&T does not want to find out after a DR event that a member cooperative’s AMI head-end was not live. This could cause a Co-op to miss out on benefits.

2.   Proliferation of Distributed Energy Resources
The landscape of distribution grids are evolving with the proliferation Distributed Energy Resources (DER) such as Solar Photovoltaic Systems (PVs), energy storage, distributed generators, EV charging stations, etc. A highly effective centralized DRMS should easily be able to integrate, incorporate, and manage DERs as well.

These DRMS strategies will allow G&Ts to take advantage of their distribution cooperatives’ demand side resources to provide both reliability and economic value to themselves and their member cooperatives. Through these efforts, G&Ts will be able to honor the individuality of the cooperatives they serve while also providing services that promote the welfare of the greater good.

About the author:
Linda Stevens is Sr. Director of Sales for OATI’s Grid Modernization solutions. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Organizational Management and Leadership from Concordia University, St. Paul, MN. Ms. Stevens has dedicated her career to the energy industry. She began in an Investor Owned Utility where she learned firsthand about utility operations. This experience transitioned to an energy industry software and technology sales career path with Siemens and, eventually, to OATI. Through a network of direct OATI sales executives, key technology alliances, and an industry leading distribution channel, she drives the strategic sales initiatives for OATI’s Grid Modernization (or Smart Grid) portfolio, with an emphasis on solutions for cooperatives and municipals.