Over the past year, we spoke with leaders at forward-thinking generation and transmission providers to get a read on how they’re tackling the evolution of the G&T business model – and where DERs fit in.
From one interview to the next, we heard a vision of DERs playing a meaningful role in lowering total system costs and balancing variable power supply. Local generation and demand-side flexibility, G&T leaders suggested, could help shift peak demand and benefit the broader system – but only if the G&T can reliably call upon them to do so.
Naturally, we asked what G&Ts would need to make that vision a reality. Here’s what we heard:
First, G&Ts asked for real-time visibility of their distribution members’ relevant data aggregated at the Transmission-Distribution substations. The G&Ts want to respect the autonomy of their member co-ops, but they need visibility to inform where and how they can safely call upon DERs. That doesn’t mean peeking behind every member-consumer’s meter, but it does mean having access to aggregated information where the transmission and distribution grids connect.
Pairing real-time, aggregated visibility with historical data and forecasts would provide vital context to G&Ts about distribution-level conditions and how DERs can be optimally dispatched for peak management, resilience, and other grid services. This in turn can help G&Ts lower capacity, transmission and energy costs while prioritizing the dispatch of the cleanest and most cost-effective assets.
G&Ts asked next for a way to easily orchestrate DERs, in coordination with their member co-ops, to provide strategic, low-cost grid services. Importantly, these controls capabilities should be grid-aware – meaning they take into account local grid conditions and constraints. While it’s possible for G&Ts to dispatch DERs without distribution grid visibility, doing so can have negative impacts on voltage and power quality, creating safety and reliability risks.
The G&Ts we spoke with made it clear that they want to take informed, safe steps to leverage DERs in a way that optimizes at the system level while respecting distribution-level constraints.
Last but not least, G&T providers asked that their co-op members gain access to the same DERMS capabilities that are made available to the G&T, including real-time visibility, accurate system-wide forecasts, and DER control. Unlike the aggregated G&T view, the distribution co-op would gain near real-time visibility from the T-D interface all the way down to specific behind-the-meter devices. Better visibility helps co-op teams work together to balance cost, reliability, resilience, and member choice – leading to improve performance overall.
By helping deliver visibility and control technology to members, G&Ts can position themselves as forward-looking technology partners and advisors – increasing the long-term value of G&T membership while gaining safe, reliable access to local flexibility.
Our team is committed to helping G&Ts and their member cooperatives work together to leverage distributed energy resources for the benefit of all. Our software leverages the power of AI and cloud computing to provide value-based, vendor-agnostic, and grid-aware orchestration for distribution co-ops and their G&T providers.
For G&Ts, we deliver:
Ultimately, we believe that DER management provides an opportunity for G&Ts and their members to usher in a new era of collaboration – delivering more affordable, reliable, and sustainable power to co-op communities.
Interested in learning more about how your G&T can benefit from coordinated DER management?