Epri tool increases grid flexibility

  • June 1, 2021
  • Steve Rogerson

The US Electric Power Research Institute (Epri) has launched the DER-Vet distributed energy resource value estimation tool to increase grid flexibility as more distributed energy resources (DERs) are integrated into a cleaner electric grid.

The tool provides a free, publicly accessible, open-source platform for calculating, understanding and optimising the value of DERs based on their technical merits and constraints. It was developed in collaboration with the California Energy Commission (CEC).

“DER-Vet empowers developers, utilities and regulators across the electric power industry to make better-informed DER application decisions based on a comprehensive, real-world dataset,” said Daniel Brooks, vice president at Epri. “Innovative tools are essential to capturing more value from increasingly complex DERs that enable greater electric grid flexibility and reliability.”

An extension of Epri’s StorageVet tool, DER-Vet supports site-specific assessments for energy storage and additional DER technologies. Applications across the grid include valuations and impacts of energy storage, solar, wind, demand response, electric vehicle (EV) charging, internal combustion engines, and combined heat and power, in different configurations such as microgrids. Site conditions, load and other data are used to determine the optimal size, duration and operational characteristics for increasing DER project benefits.

“Investments in clean energy innovation, such as the CEC’s Epic grant supporting the development of DER-Vet, are critical to accelerating California’s transition to a carbon-free energy system,” said David Hochschild, chair of the CEC. “This tool is another important link in making better use of, and better integrating, our renewable and distributed energy resources supporting a more dynamic, responsive and reliable grid.”

StorageVet, Epri’s storage value estimation tool and the predecessor to DER-Vet, helps decision makers determine where to place and install energy storage, the optimum size, and which controls to include. It also improves energy storage project planning by enabling rapid analysis of scenarios with different storage sizes, costs and value streams.

Epri conducts research and development relating to the generation, delivery and use of electricity for the benefit of the public. An independent, non-profit organisation, it brings together scientists and engineers as well as experts from academia and industry to help address challenges in electricity, including reliability, efficiency, affordability, health, safety and the environment. Members represent 90% of the electricity generated and delivered in the USA with international participation extending to 40 countries. Its principal offices and laboratories are in California, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Massachusetts and Washington DC.

The CEC is the state’s primary energy policy and planning agency. It has seven core responsibilities: advancing state energy policy, encouraging energy efficiency, certifying thermal power plants, investing in energy innovation, developing renewable energy, transforming transportation, and preparing for energy emergencies.