Emera Maine, a smallish electrical utility in Bangord and northern Maine, is entering an interesting experiment, creating a microgird of solar, batteries and backup diesel at its operations center in tiny Hampden, Maine, and hooking that into a microgrid-of-microgrids that includes two sites in Canada.
As Greentech Media reports (entire story here), it’s a test of software systems to help balance the grid in the increasing complicated world of electricity:
Leading the technology portion of the project is Opus One Solutions, an Ontario, Canada-based startup that’s built a “GridOS” technology platform for real-time monitoring, analyzing and managing of distributed energy resources down to the feeder level. It’s going to be in charge of the front-of-the-meter portion of the project, connecting various distributed energy resources to grid sensors and other utility equipment.
The overall goal of the project is to “demonstrate the use of technical and economic signals to manage the exchange of electricity,” a term that has been dubbed “transactive energy” by its proponents. In a perfect world, a transactive energy system would have thousands of independent energy actors, from central power plants to dispersed solar panels, batteries, smart thermostats and other grid edge assets, all telling each other what their energy needs are and what they’re willing to pay for them.
Who would have thought that electric utilities, the most boring, stable and red-tape-wrapped of industries, would become so cool and innovative?