NREL Integrate: RCS-4-42326

Andrew Hudgins, Jim Waight, Shailendra Grover, Stuart Laval, Les Sheppard, James Boston, Andrew Hudgins (NREL Technical Monitor)

Research output: NRELSubcontract Report


OMNETRIC Corp., Duke Energy, CPS Energy, and the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) created a project team to execute the project 'OpenFMB Reference Architecture Demonstration.' The project included development and demonstration of concepts that will enable the electric utility grid to host larger penetrations of renewable resources. The project concept calls for the aggregation of renewable resources and loads into microgrids and the control of these microgrids with an implementation of the OpenFMB Reference Architecture. The production of power from the renewable resources that are appearing on the grid today is very closely linked to the weather. The difficulty of forecasting the weather, which is well understood, leads to difficulty in forecasting the production of renewable resources. The current state of the art in forecasting the power production from renewables (solar PV and wind) are accuracies in the range of 12-25 percent NMAE. In contrast the demand for electricity aggregated to the system level, is easier to predict. The state of the art of demand forecasting done, 24 hours ahead, is about 2-3% MAPE. Forecasting the load to be supplied from conventional resources (demand minus generation from renewable resources) is thus very hard to forecast. This means that even a few hours before the time of consumption, there can be considerable uncertainty over what must be done to balance supply and demand. Adding to the problem of difficulty of forecasting, is the reality of the variability of the actual production of power from renewables. Due to the variability of wind speeds and solar insolation, the actual output of power from renewable resources can vary significantly over a short period of time. Gusts of winds result is variation of power output of wind turbines. The shadows of clouds moving over solar PV arrays result in the variation of power production of the array. This compounds the problem of balancing supply and demand in real time. Establishing a control system that can manage distribution systems with large penetrations of renewable resources is difficult due to two major issues: (1) the lack of standardization and interoperability between the vast array of equipment in operation and on the market, most of which use different and proprietary means of communication and (2) the magnitude of the network and the information it generates and consumes. The objective of this project is to provide the industry with a design concept and tools that will enable the electric power grid to overcome these barriers and support a larger penetration of clean energy from renewable resources.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages147
StatePublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

Work performed by OMNETRIC, Palo Alto, California; Duke Energy, Palo Alto, California; University of Texas, San Antonio, Texas; CPS Energy, San Antonio, Texas

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/SR-5B00-70276


  • communications
  • distributed energy resources
  • forecasting
  • microgrid
  • openFMB
  • real-time
  • utilities


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