Distribution Feeder-Scale Fast Frequency Response via Optimal Coordination of Net-Load Resources Part II: Large-Scale Demonstration

Blake Lundstrom, Sourav Patel, Murti Salapaka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus Citations


This article is the second of a two-part series in which we develop and experimentally demonstrate a hierarchical control solution for optimally coordinating thousands of deferrable loads and distributed energy resources (DERs) to provide fast frequency response (FFR) from an entire distribution feeder. In Part I, we developed and proved practical algorithms for fast, cost-based optimal dispatch and for determining the optimal amount of headroom to operate solar inverters with to support FFR dispatch while minimizing opportunity cost. Simulation results in Part I demonstrated the advantages of the hierarchical dispatch approach in being able to maintain fast solution times needed for FFR even when the problem size increases. In Part II, we implement the algorithms developed in Part I in a novel, large-scale power hardware-in-the-loop experiment including embedded controllers and more than 100 powered appliance loads and DER connected to a simulated real-world distribution system with more than 10,000 controlled devices. Experimental results from multiple scenarios confirm that the optimal FFR dispatch approach scales well and can optimally coordinate more than 10,000 net-load resources across a distribution network while achieving hardware response times within 500 ms, which is not possible using state-of-the-art optimal coordination approaches.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1445-1454
Number of pages10
JournalIEEE Transactions on Smart Grid
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2021

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5D00-76061


  • coordinated response
  • demand response
  • DER
  • distributed energy resources
  • fast frequency response
  • FFR
  • flexible load
  • primary frequency control


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