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Building to Grid Control

There are many potential control hierarchies to consider when integrating a building to the grid. Should the utility be optimizer and providing centralized control each building load and DER at one end of the spectrum? Or a fully decentralized control structure where the load and DER (devices) respond to local conditions only at the other end?

There are pros and cons to both approaches with a centralized approach providing full optimization to the grid. However cost, communication latencies and ability to manage thousands of devices make it challenging to implement such an approach. On the other hand a fully decentralized approach is a lower cost solution, easier to manage and simpler to implement, however at that level, the devices won’t have full system awareness for true optimization.

In reality a true solution requires a hybrid approach, with control taking place at multiple levels. With grid level determining the grid needs based on near term forecasts, signaling the grids needs to aggregators or individual buildings. This signal may take many forms from an email through to dynamic pricing. The signal can be then be dispatched amongst multiple buildings and building management systems and further down to individual devices.

Of course there maybe exceptions to this method where some devices respond directly to grid needs such as for frequency response.

David Lovelady

Founder of LovEnergy

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