Several forces are pushing toward a natural evolution in energy distribution. The increase in electricity demand, combined with the desire for greater efficiency and the arrival of significant distributed resources, and related technologies, suggest that advancements in the grid should incorporate these distinct trends into the emerging energy structure.
Spirae’s BlueFin® platform aligns these trends by combining grid awareness with distributed energy resources management. This approach enables large-scale adoption of distributed energy resources, grid operations, market participation and end-use applications, without adversely affecting grid reliability.
The theoretical basis of BlueFin rests upon a real-time distributed control strategy to operate power systems and distributed energy resources synergistically to maintain power flow balance and grid stability in concert with existing back-end systems. This is accomplished by integrating BlueFin with back-end systems such as SCADA, DMS, OMS, CIS and AMI from customers to the substation and data center levels. This strategy allows BlueFin to transform potentially disruptive new distributed resources such as electric vehicles and renewable energy into supportive assets used to strengthen grid function.
By utilizing key capabilities such as Active Power Import/Export, Reactive Power Import/Export, Voltage Control, Emergency Island, Spinning Reserve Control, Active Power Export Limiting and Reactive Power Export Limiting, among others, BlueFin enables large-scale adoption of distributed energy resources in several application areas and related services. In so doing, BlueFin controls become a strategic asset for customers seeking to maximize the value of their network operations through efficient use of grid infrastructure and increased deployment of distributed resources.
Developed and refined through strategic project activities in the US and Europe over the past eight years, BlueFin served as the basis of the US Department of Energy Renewable and Distributed Systems Integration (RDSI) project, which emphasized the integration of renewable and distributed energy resources for peak load management.
RDSI was recently ranked #3 in a CIGRÉ C6.11 paper entitled “Development and Operation of Distribution Networks” ranking advanced Active Distribution Networks in the world (Dec. 2010). This project was greatly informed by the partnership between Spirae and the Energinet.dk (Transmission Service Operator, Denmark) for The Cell Controller Pilot Project, which utilized software similar to that refined in the RDSI project. The Cell Controller Pilot Project was ranked #22 in the same CIGRÉ study.
Spirae’s BlueFin platform is based on a distributed architecture that enables distinct application areas including:
The BlueFin platform provides unique capabilities and distinct BlueFin Applications to leverage DER within distribution networks. These capabilities deliver DER-based power management functions, taking into account real-time conditions, constraints and the topology of the power grid. Key power management functions are distributed to the DER aggregation points in the network called “virtualization nodes.”
This strategy typically incorporates performance criteria to dynamically formulate the optimal DER engagement strategy based on changing conditions. DER operations criteria could include constraints such as cost of operation, emissions and carbon limits, and reliability parameters.
The major layers of the BlueFin architecture are:
This integrated approach yields a highly scalable and flexible infrastructure that is ideal for continually adding renewable and distributed sources, enabling new services, and optimizing network operations.
Spirae is an innovative technology company that delivers scalable smart grid solutions to global partners and customers. Spirae specializes in the integration of large-scale renewable and distributed energy resources, the development of local and wide area controls, energy service platforms and power system simulations.
Spirae's Chief Technology Officer, Mr. Oliver Pacific, discusses how The Palace Hotel in San Francisco showcases when the past meets the future…