Real Time - Optimal Power Flow Based Distributed Energy Resources Management System (DERMS) Cooperative Research and Development Final Report, CRADA Number CRD-20-16909

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


The integration of behind-the-meter distributed energy resources (DERs) into distribution systems brings transformative changes to power systems. This requires operators and planners to find solutions to modernize electric grids and to effectively manage DERs for grid services. NREL developed novel DER management algorithms (referred to as Real-Time Optimal Power Flow, RT-OPF) through U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)-funded efforts, including Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy (ARPA-E) Network Optimized Distributed Energy Systems (NODES) funding. This cutting-edge control technology aims to modernize distribution systems with large amounts of DER integration, which will help utilities solve issues brought by renewable integration and build resilient and renewable-based electric grids nationwide. Utilidata worked with NREL to investigate the commercialization opportunity of this RT-OPF-based distributed energy resource management system (DERMS). In this project, NREL performs the technology transfer of the RT-OPF to Utilidata to help them fully understand the RT-OPF solution, to identify potential engineering hurdles, and to assess the expected commercial value of various RT-OPF use cases and deployment. The technology transfer work includes two major tasks. First, NREL performs an in-depth knowledge transfer of the entire RT-OPF solution to Utilidata to help them gain an extensive and detailed understanding of the complete RT-OPF solution. In this task, NREL provides exhaustive information (e.g., documentation, code packages, laboratory and field trial data, performance results) while conducting in-depth training sessions to provide a thorough explanation of the entire solution. NREL hosts meetings to present different topics related to the RT-OPF solution, and question-and-answer sessions are included in each meeting to better explain the RT-OPF-related work. Second, the RT-OPF simulations are performed in a laboratory environment. The main objectives of this task are to walk through with Utilidata engineers how to set up a simulation of RT-OPF, identifying each RT-OPF code block/component in operation, learning how these components interact with each other, and eventually running RT-OPF simulations under various system conditions. This task helps Utilidata engineers understand performance limitations and constraints while also quantifying the commercial value of the RT-OPF for different use cases. Based on these two tasks, Utilidata engineers should be able to define and prioritize the next steps of RT-OPF implementation with an eye toward commercial success and scalability of the solution. The next steps are expected to be part of a new project following the conclusion of this project.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages12
StatePublished - 2021

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-5D00-80013


  • distributed energy resource management systems
  • grid services
  • integration
  • real-time optimal power flow
  • SunSpec Modbus


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