‘The GREAT-DR’

‘The GREAT-DR’1 is a smart grid2 technologies trial project led by Hydro Ottawa and partially funded by the Ontario Ministry of Energy’s Smart Grid Fund.

This interoperable3, transactive4, demand/response5 solution allows a customer’s electricity behind-the-meter to interact virtually and seamlessly with the electrical grid. This initiative will give participants the tools to manage their electricity usage and demand while taking advantage of home generation and storage solutions. 

Benefit from solar generation, energy storage and more!

In return for investing in a significantly discounted solar generation system equipped with control devices, qualified participants will help trial a novel smart grid solution.

This project uses a technology called “Transactive Energy” that enables devices that use or produce electricity to work together seamlessly, thereby maintaining a balance between supply and demand. This is accomplished in real-time by adjusting the demand, generation and storage of electricity within the customer’s home as well as the surrounding neighbours. And ‘The GREAT-DR’ solution is completely secure and designed to fully protect customer privacy.

Decide when and where to use electricity

Home energy use is typically “sparse and spiky”, meaning that at different times, customers either use small or large amounts of electricity. To ensure that electricity is available regardless, utilities must plan for the “worst-case-scenario”, like when every customer’s air conditioning is turned on or every customer’s solar panels are supplying electricity into the grid, at the same time. This can have a huge impact on power quality, the security of supplying power, and cost of delivering electricity.

‘The GREAT-DR’ system provides participants with choices for getting the most out of their smart grid solution. If a participant decides, "I want my electric vehicle (EV) charged now" the system can determine the current load on the transformer serving their home and immediately provide options. For example, the system can turn off large appliances, such as dryers or air conditioners, to balance the participant’s needs with the overall demands of the electricity grid.

Collaborate with neighbours

Through the GREAT-DR’ trial, participants can collaborate with their neighbours to address their electricity needs. For example, if a participant needs to charge their EV, the system can signal other homes served by the same transformer to see if they have the extra solar generation or storage capacity needed to charge the EV. If available, participants could negotiate with their neighbours to secure the electricity – all without the need to involve anyone else, including Hydro Ottawa.

Experience the future now

Through ‘The GREAT-DR’  project, Hydro Ottawa and its academic and industry partners have built a trial environment that simulates the future marketplace for energy – one where customers will likely generate more of their own power, store what’s not used and drive EVs. As such, the aggregated and anonymous data collected and analyzed over the trial period will play a key role in shaping the future of the electricity business.

In fact, we believe it will forever change how electricity customers, local distribution companies (like Hydro Ottawa) and the electricity grid market operator (the Independent Electricity System Operator) interact with and manage the smart grid.

By decentralizing and largely automating demand response and transactive energy right through to the grid edge (or where customers connect with the electrical grid), ‘The GREAT-DR” will effectively “democratize” the grid.  For the first time in history, it will give customers the ability to decide how and when they will use electricity. Ultimately, this will foster a stronger, more resilient smart grid.

What’s more, ‘The GREAT-DR’ is an open source system based on international standards. This will encourage equipment manufacturers, software companies and others to explore the technology, igniting innovation and stimulating the growth of a new smart gird market in Ontario and around the world.

‘The GREAT-DR’ Solution

With an initial investment of $27,000 or less, qualified participants will gain a state-of-the-art solar generation system and control devices worth approximately $40,000.

This system includes:

  • A separate ‘critical load panel’ that will allow for emergency power during outages
  • All permits, installation, applicable warranty, and taxes

Roof top solar panels

  • Tier 1 quality
  • Includes mounting system

A Home Energy Management System (HEMS) – Energate Inc.

  • Smart thermostat and devices attached to electrical appliances, including furnaces/baseboard heaters, air-conditioners, pool pumps, and/or dryers
  • Devices determined based on home

A smart inverter – Tabuchi

  • DC coupled
  • Three independent maximum point power trackers
  • 680W x 1200H x 250D mm or 26.8W x 47.2H x 9.8D in (wall mounted)
  • 65 kg (143.3lb)
  • Air cooled

Battery storage – Panasonic

  • Lithium Ion, high quality
  • 10 kWh capacity (approximately 8kWh usable)
  • 580W x 600H x 551.5D mm or 22.8W x 23.6H x 21.7D in (resides on floor)
  • 110 kg (243lb) on casters

A bi-directional meter

  • Supports a Net-Metering benefit (on-bill generation credit)
  • More information on Net-Metering

Learn more about ‘The GREAT-DR’:


Looking to Participate?

Hydro Ottawa is looking for more residential customers to join the customers already qualified for the trial project. If you’re interested in participating, download ‘The GREAT-DR’ Application Form. Once completed and saved, please submit your responses to Hydro Ottawa via email at TGDRParticipant@hydroottawa.com.

Get your neighbours and community involved!

 

Hydro Ottawa is leading this project that is funded in part by the Ontario Ministry of Energy’s Smart Grid Fund and the LDC Tomorrow Fund. The success of this project is also thanks to our dedicated collaborators: Carleton University, CIMA Canada Inc., Energate (Tantalus) Inc., Panasonic Eco Solutions Canada (with Tabuchi Americas), Quadra Power Inc., Thorium Technologies Inc., the University of Ottawa plus our supporter, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Standards Association.

1. “The GREAT-DR’ is an acronym for ‘The GRid Edge Active Transactional Demand Response”

2. "The grid" is the network of transmission lines, substations, transformers and meters that deliver electricity from generating stations to your home or business. Like the Internet, the Smart Grid consists of controls, computers, automation, and new technologies and equipment working together within the electrical grid to respond digitally to the quickly changing demand for and supply of electricity.

3. Interoperable refers to a system’s ability to communicate with or use the parts or equipment of another system.

4. Transactive, as in a transactive energy system, is a system that leverages smart grid technologies to exchange information about the real-time flow and cost of power among utilities, grid operators, and individual customers. 

5. Demand/Response refers to the significant role that consumers can play in improving the operation of the electrical grid by reducing or shifting their electricity demand or usage during peak periods in response to time-based rates or other financial incentives.

‘The Grid Edge Active Transactional Demand Response’ (‘The GREAT-DR’) is a platform solution that enables a customer’s electricity demand and generation to seamlessly interact in real-time with the electrical grid.

Through a smart grid technologies project led by Hydro Ottawa, 30 customers in Ottawa will trial this solution over two years to assess its effectiveness in enabling customers to manage their own electricity usage, generation, and storage, while maintaining a balance between the supply and demand of electricity to their homes.

This project will simulate the future marketplace for energy – one where customers will generate more of their own electricity, store what’s not used and drive Electric Vehicles (EVs).

Hydro Ottawa is leading this project that is funded in part by the Ontario Ministry of Energy’s Smart Grid Fund and the LDC Tomorrow Fund. The success of this project is also thanks to our dedicated collaborators: Carleton University, CIMA Canada Inc., Energate (Tantalus) Inc., Panasonic Eco Solutions Canada (with Tabuchi Americas), Quadra Power Inc., Thorium Technologies Inc., the University of Ottawa plus our supporter, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Standards Association.

Democratizing the grid at its edge

‘The GREAT-DR’ platform will decentralize and largely automate demand response and transactive energy right through to the grid edge – where a customer connects their devices to the electrical grid. This will give customers more control over their electricity usage.

At the same time, it will create a more resilient grid, where electricity market operators (like Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator or IESO) will gain stronger demand response guarantees. Local distribution companies or LDCs (such as Hydro Ottawa) will have also more control and flexibility in managing their own distribution system, especially when demand fluctuates.

Overall, this project is about democratizing the smart grid or giving all players – customers, LDCs and market operators – more influence over how the smart grid operates. This, in turn, will translate into electricity grid efficiencies, while ensuring its robustness and reliability.

The goal of Hydro Ottawa and its Collaborators is to democratize smart grids in Ontario and all over the world by encouraging its growing adoption by market operators, utilities, equipment manufacturers and customers. As such, ‘The GREAT-DR’ is being developed as a standards compliant, open source and worldwide offering, free of royalties.

Empowering prosumers

A prosumer is a customer who both produces and consumes energy – a shift that’s occurring with the growth of new connection technologies and the steady increase in the adoption of renewable energy like solar and wind. It’s like a Facebook feed or a YouTube page. Increasingly, users don’t just read or watch content, they also create their own and actively add to the conversation on social media.

Prosumers in the energy business are growing as more customers generate their own electricity from rooftop solar panels and use it for their EVs. As a result, electricity consumption is no longer a one-way street. Increasingly, smart grid technologies are blurring the lines between electricity generation and consumption.  

With The GREAT-DR, a Customer as a Prosumer will experience more value, control and comfort when using or generating electricity – all while helping maintain the integrity of the grid.

Solar generation, energy storage, load control and transactive energy

With an initial investment of $27,000 or less, the 30 qualified participants in ‘The GREAT-DR’ trial will gain a state-of-the-art solar generation system and control devices worth approximately $40,000. This integrated system includes roof top solar panels, a Home Energy Management System (HEMS), a smart inverter, battery storage, a bi-directional meter and a “critical load panel” for emergency power.

In return for their investment, qualified participants in ‘The GREAT-DR’ will help trial a novel smart grid solution that addresses an important issue in the electricity business.

Home energy use is typically “sparse and spiky”, meaning that at different times, customers either use little or huge amounts of electricity. To ensure that electricity is available regardless, utilities must provision it for the “worst-case-scenario”, like when every customer’s air conditioning is turned on or every customer’s solar panels are supplying electricity into the grid, at the same time. This can have a huge impact on power quality, the security of supplying power, and cost of delivering electricity.

This project uses a technology called “Transactive Energy” that enables devices that use or produce electricity to work together seamlessly, thereby maintaining a balance between supply and demand. If one customer can’t participate at any time, the neighbouring customers might be able to compensate. With the variety of devices and the greater number of customers that can transact, each customer gains more flexibility and comfort, while helping to maintain the needed balance between supply and demand. 

Shaping the electricity flow profile is done in real-time by adjusting demand, generation and storage within homes. This is performed by an intelligent transactive agent at the neighbourhood transformer that negotiates through a Customer Agent with the Home Energy Management System. 

Completely secure and private

The GREAT-DR design adheres to Privacy-by-Design principles and best cyber security practices, including the IEEE2030.5 standard. In addition, it follows robust data governance model that can efficiently and securely communicate transactions to the sub-second. 

The aggregated and anonymized data collected and analyzed by Hydro Ottawa and its Collaborators over the trial period is vitally important. It would forever change how the customer, the local distribution company (Hydro Ottawa) and the electricity grid market operator (the Independent Electricity System Operator) interact with and manage the smart grid.

Where we are now

Already ten Hydro Ottawa customers have qualified to participate in the trial project and dozens of other customers have applied and are being evaluated with the objective of clustering as many participants as possible around the same transformers. This will enable customers served by the same transformer to negotiate with each other to obtain or offer their electricity.

Once the selection of qualified participants is completed, the installation of the new grid solution within customer homes will begin. The trial will be underway by the end of 2018.

Benefits to Customers

  • Long-term investment opportunity
  • Simplified integration of state-of-the-art solar generation system and load control devices
  • Managed electricity usage while retaining control of appliances and devices
  • Increased value, control and comfort when using or generating electricity
  • Reduced environmental impact and greenhouse gas (GHG) footprint by limiting peak demands
  • Improved reliability of electricity service

Benefits to Industry

  • Decentralized and automated demand response and transactive energy through to the grid edge
  • Guaranteed better demand response for the market operator
  • Increased grid control and flexible operation for local distribution companies (distribution system operators)
  • Lower cost and more resilient than traditional grid shoring solutions
  • Agent-based and fully standards-compliant (esp. IEEE2030.5)
  • Adherence to Privacy-by-Design principles and best cyber security practices
  • Encourages interoperability and democratization of the Grid (open source and royalty free platform solution architecture)

It’s utilities, a market operator, equipment manufacturers and customers working together where it matters to optimize through to the edge of the electricity grid.