Challenges and Opportunities for Transactive Control of Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment: A Reference Guide

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


Grid integration of electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) offers the potential to provide various types of services to utilities, society, and electric vehicle owners. Transactive control, a means of executing transactions through control of equipment operating states, can greatly facilitate EVSE integration. Transactive control enables market-based coordination to optimize energy efficiency, reduce energy cost, manage energy use, and control emissions. Yet many EVSE units lack the communication and control capabilities that are needed for effective grid integration. Building owners and utilities are uncertain about how to take advantage of these new assets. This report seeks to characterize the opportunities and challenges that arise in developing a transactive control strategy for grid-EVSE integration in various use-case scenarios in a way that provides end-user, energy market, grid, and societal benefits. A detailed review provides information about EVSE integration market trends and stakeholder activities. This is followed by an exploration of value proposition for transactive control of EVSE at both the home scale and the building/campus scale. The objectives of the report are to serve as a reference guide for stakeholders in the grid-EVSE integration area, illustrate potential implementations, and identify a high-value research project for overcoming the barriers and unlocking the benefits of transactive control of EVSE. While it is not intended to specify the technical details of the transactive control solution, the report contains a list of use cases describing potential applications of transactive control of EVSE, barriers to implement these applications, and R&D opportunities to overcome the barriers. Many areas of research, including distribution infrastructure, standardization, vehicle-building/grid integration, and large-scale demonstration, have barriers to transactive control of EVSE. VOLTTRON, a freely available agent-based platform that was developed by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, is best suited for transactive control in distributed environments. VOLTTRON enables the interactions between distributed energy resources, buildings, EVSE units, plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs), service providers, and aggregators to achieve energy-efficient grid integration. To begin addressing the identified gaps and barriers, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory proposes a project to unlock the many benefits of transactive controls and facilitate wide adoption of VOLTTRON by industry stakeholders. This project will leverage the expertise of multiple national laboratories to overcome these barriers and demonstrate transactive control of EVSE utilizing a transactive network infrastructure, such as the scalable VOLTTRON infrastructure in the Energy Systems Integration Facility at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages41
StatePublished - 2015

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-5500-64007


  • electric vehicle supply equipment
  • EVSE
  • smart grids
  • transactive control
  • vehicle-grid integration


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