LOS ANGELES, Calif. – June 21, 2010EDSA, UC San Diego (ssi.ucsd.edu) and Viridity Energy today presented what the three organizations believe is the most proven smart grid solution yet developed at the California Higher Education Sustainability Conference in Los Angeles, Calif.

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Text of accompanying whitepaper:

California higher education is facing the rising multi faceted challenge of unfunded mandates, the highest statewide renewable portfolio standards, and required GHG emission reductions – all during one of the most difficult economic periods in California’s history. For the 2009-2010 school years, the state has reduced general fund support for California State University system by $66.3 million and reduced the budget by $520 million for the California Community College System, which is expected to lose another $320 million during the next school year. Mark Yudof, president of the University of California said: “In state funding, we have half the money we had in 1990 on an inflation-adjusted basis.” Consequently, there is a prevalent interest in microgrids for CA higher education campuses in their pursuit to minimize energy costs and environmental impacts through an optimization of energy supply, storage and energy efficiency.

A number of UC and CSU campuses currently operate microgrids. To start developing microgrids on campus, the CSU Chancellor sought $60M in ARRA for microgrid developments at 22 out of 23 campuses, and LA Community Colleges won a CEC Renewable Energy Secure Communities grant in 2009.

UCSD has partnered with Viridity Energy, Inc. and EDSA to develop a UCSD Master Controller to provide economic and environmental optimization of its microgrid. The UCSD Master Controller integrates power system analytics and includes optimization software that will plan and dynamically schedule all generation, imports, storage, building management systems and demand load as an integrated Virtual Power Plant (VPP) in the wholesale power market based upon real time locational energy prices from CAISO and the host utilities.

As a result, the Campus will achieve savings from purchases in the market and use its ability to control and optimize its resources as a source of revenue that supports investment into distributed resources, including PV technologies.

The Need for a Smart Grid Master Controller with Optimization & Scheduling within a Micro Grid

As the concept of a smart grid manifests, the future energy markets will be highly transformed by innovations in communications, computing and instrumentation, particularly at a granular level. Alignment with the Wholesale Energy Market and their method in calculating energy prices by Locational Marginal Pricing (LMP) will provide economical viability to energy storage and renewable energy sources of generation and flexible demand loads when it is needed and where it is needed. The movement towards more micro energy “pro-sumers” will not reshape the intermittency of RE resources but it will redefine the value of RE resources that are made available within a shorter increment of time and within more confines of particularly congested Transmission and Distribution systems.

To date, however, a solution does not exist for a micro grid that consists of renewable energy (RE), energy storage (ES), and energy efficiency (EE) type projects, to operate as a unified, dynamic, market price responsive resource. Consequently, community size micro grids are unable to receive the substantial economic benefits by providing load balancing services to the grid operator yet they are accountable to perfectly address stringent levels of reliability and complexity, which are not necessarily feasible.

In February 2007, the Galvin Electricity Initiative’s stated, “though initial demonstrations of important concepts that are integral to the proposed micro grid configuration have been achieved, a fully functional master controller as described in this functional design does not yet exist. Industry experts consulted as part of the Initiative anticipate it could be developed within 3 to 5 years, with a relatively modest industry investment, if important foundations that would enable the master controller software are developed first.”

To address this roadblock, UCSD identified the imperative to develop a master controller to manage in real time the multiplicity of demand and supply as well as to have the market, environment and forecasting intelligence to optimize economic benefits while providing continuous integration with the grid operator. The foremost perspective is that the master controller’s intelligence must capture the design intent of the power systems engineer who created and made crucial decisions and selections regarding the behavior of the finished system, critical components, and key operating parameters that must be preserved once the system is in operation. Once constructed, there must be technology in place to continually calibrate and synchronize the “actual” operational status versus “as-designed” specifications, to ensure the power distribution system is operating precisely as intended. Analyzing deviation’s based on predicted behavior and actual behavior of the community power distribution network could be a warning sign of inefficiencies or larger downstream problems; these analyses, called Power Analytics™, are critical in developing an intelligent master controller that can capture the connectivity, and interdependencies of the distribution system’s assets, and leverage this knowledge to interpret dense real time data readings that takes into consideration not only market prices and environmental factors, but also the constraints, controls and physical limitations of the electrical distribution network. As AMI rolls out into the market, there will be competing and conflicting interface protocols that may accelerate technological obsolescence or compromise performance. “Future Proofing” current designs and investments from premature and poor choices are essential.

The master controller must integrate with a scheduling optimizer, preferably as a virtual aggregator, that combines individual and/or multiple organizations’ distributed generators, storage and loads to achieve maximal economic value while meeting each organization’s environmental objectives. In the presence of a grid-connected electricity market, those resources ideally should appear to the Market Operator as single, information driven, Virtual Generator that is optimized and dispatched in capacity, day-ahead and real time energy and ancillary markets, to achieve economic, reliability and environmental objectives. The community-based load customers and self generators need to be apprised of the emerging technologies and prevailing economic competitiveness as they weigh their choices of energy purchases and renewable energy generation investments. This market connectedness will accelerate, deepen and broaden the market penetration of all hardware, software and services for the future Smart Grid.

Currently, UCSD along with project partners, Viridity Energy and EDSA Power Analytics, are developing a fully functional, protocol compliant, master controller system with an optimizer that will permit bundling from any source within a community the distributed generation, storage and loads that are “behind the meter” into a single, virtual “in front of the meter” entity that is a fully dispatchable in the organized capacity, energy and ancillary services markets. The dilemma of cobbled indigenous renewable energy projects operating sub-optimally and being financially burdened with behind the meter economics will be mitigated by enabling holistically planned projects within a community to take advantage of competitive energy markets.

The UCSD microgrid project will directly help UCSD achieve its overall goal to shift 20% of its load from on-peak to off-peak periods by the year 2010, representing a peak load reduction from 7MW to 14 MW.

Using existing infrastructure UCSD will be able to substantially save on the cost of electricity while generating market revenues, currently estimated at more than $600,000 a year based on 10 MW of dispatchable load.

The USCD microgrid project will also demonstrate the following benefits to the California industry and markets:

•Lower energy prices during high demand periods by reducing overall peak demand and congestion and improving reliability

•Defer utility investments in distribution assets and while market incentive for independent investment in distributed generation and storage

•Open the door for the scalability of renewables and storage technologies by non utilities and utilities by developing these resources so they become reliable dispatchable resources.

•Accelerate the growth of California clean technology companies by creating viable economic opportunities in the region.

Assembly Bill 32 (AB32) requires reduction of GHG by 2020 to 1990 levels, which is a 15% reduction from 2008 Levels or approximately 4 Tons of CO2-equivalent for every person in California.

This project contributes to the DOE’s Industrial Technology Program (ITP) goal to drive a 25% reduction in U.S. industrial energy intensity by 2017 in support of EPACT 2005 and the President’s carbon reduction goals through voluntary partnerships with industry. In order to meet this target, we will focus on UCSD’s reductions of grid electricity purchases, peak load reductions, and avoidance of greenhouse gas emissions all through the implementation of the VPowerTM building optimization System.

The microgrid project at UCSD will show how many of these individual technologies can be integrated within a single microgrid to provide an optimized energy supply and distribution system and a maximized carbon footprint reduction, based upon physical and environmental conditions available at any location. By deploying a campus wide system optimization system, UCSD will be able to reduce greenhouse gas emissions via its load curtailment and on-site generation leading to reductions in purchases of grid electricity and reduced strain on the grid.

University of California San Diego Campus

Between 1993 and 2008, the university completed over $60 million in projects that increased efficiencies and reduced costs by over $12M annually. Included were a high voltage substation, cogeneration, thermal energy storage, comprehensive digital building controls and HVAC retrofits. In 2009, UC San Diego received funding approval for a three year $72 million program which will include projects to upgrade Laboratory HVAC, campus wide lighting, and comprehensive monitored based commissioning. UCSD has about 12 million square feet on campus with an estimate 45,000 people. The energy density per square foot is twice that of a regular office building due research and patient care operations.

The university also operates an impressive energy storage system that allows it to shift 7 to 14 percent of its daily on-peak cooling load to the night by charging a 4M gallon thermal energy storage tank. The plant (further describe) has the flexibility to optimize the charging cycle by either using chillers that recover the waste heat from the cogeneration system or using chillers that utilize the electricity from the cogenerating system that otherwise would have been throttled back during low load off peak hours.

UCSD’s microgrid enables it to self-generate 82 percent of its power from two 13.5-megawatt gas turbines, one 3-megawatt steam turbine and one 1.2 megawatt solar cell installation, and to produce electricity, heat and cooling at a higher degree of efficiency than the local utility can and at a lower cost.

UCSD forged a public-private partnership to utilize its exceptional legacy power infrastructure with increasingly sophisticated and growing demands to: 1.) advance the understanding of the complex dynamics that drive community-scale micro grids, end-use energy demand, and associated local and global air emissions; 2.) apply this knowledge to generate planning methods and community design models and municipal processes to enable practitioners to build energy-efficient, low-carbon development projects; 3.) resolve market barriers and risks impeding integration of energy-efficient technologies into development projects through energy-development industry collaboration.

The objective of this effort is to develop and implement a replicable demonstration of a semi-autonomous micro grid master controller for real-time optimization and management of community scale smart grid infrastructures by coupling EDSA’s real-time power analytics capabilities with Viridity Energy Inc’s, optimization technology referred to as VPower™ and leveraging of UCSD’s advanced metering infrastructure (AMI), (guided by EnerNex), communication, and installed renewable energy (RE) generation and thermal and electricity energy storage (TEES) assets. EDSA and Viridity Energy (EVE) are developing an “umbrella” solution that integrates several off campus, unrelated RE and flex demand load sources with the entire UCSD community’s power chain for optimization and management within a network intelligent, real-time environment. The output of this effort will lay the critical foundations necessary for a commercialized master controller, optimizer/scheduler and AMI product developed specifically for community based smart grid planning.

The UCSD team’s goal is to develop an effective operational and short range planning tool for community-scale micro grids, and to demonstrate its capabilities on the UCSD campus and adjacent, but separately owned, RE resources. The EDSA Paladin SmartGridTM system and the Viridity Energy’s VPower™ representations of the major loads and sources within the UCSD microgrid will be installed and linked on a UCSD server. This approach allows the organization to assess the costs/benefits of the planned addition of new distributed resources, and to assess their respective advantages in the context of a central market. Most importantly, it will allow the UCSD operator to develop the price sensitive day ahead virtual generation and load schedule, and to submit it to the Market Operators. If the EDSA Paladin Live system monitors a divergence from the economic and physical ideal, then it can self-heal to realign the system with VPower™, providing suggested, continuous, optimized operation schedule. UCSD will have simulated price signals that include Weather Forecast, Price Forecast, Load Forecast, Generation Forecast, Carbon Calculator and Unit Commitment for a combination of twenty (20) generators, storage and loads from anywhere within the La Jolla community including off campus.


The California Energy Commission (CEC), for instance, awarded UCSD a matching $1 million grant for its new smart grid initiative, while U.S. Treasury allocated the school $15 million in Clean Renewable Energy Bonds to finance another 1.9 megawatts of solar photovoltaic installments. The U.S. Department of Energy and the CEC, meanwhile, is supporting the university as it tests solar forecasting to mitigate the negative consequences of high photovoltaic concentrations into distribution feeder circuits (high penetration solar).

Paladin SmartGrid™

Paladin SmartGridTM answers the need for a Master Controller to serve as an intelligent interface between a micro grid and the utility grid. It enables the seamless integration of on-premise and distributed energy sources – such as solar, wind, or local co-generation – without compromising the reliability of power from the legacy utility grid. In addition, Paladin SmartGridTM delivers immediate energy conservation and substantial cost savings by optimizing the power performance of all aspects of a micro grid.


About EDSA Micro Corporation
EDSA is a privately held developer of software solutions for the design, simulation, deployment, and preventative maintenance of complex electrical power systems. Founded in 1983, the Company’s Paladin® software products are used by thousands of commercial, industrial, governmental, and military customers worldwide, to protect more than $100 billion in customer assets. Headquartered in San Diego, Calif., the Company’s worldwide operations include 30 sales, distribution, and support offices located throughout North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. For more information about EDSA and its products, visit www.edsa.com.


About Viridity Energy Inc.,
VPower™ combines highly granular load forecasts techniques and advanced generation, storage and demand forecast algorithms with a powerful to obtain optimized day ahead and real-time schedules fully integrated with central markets operations. In particular, the distributed resources market commitment is based on a price sensitive load forecast optimized with other forecast components, such as weather dependent renewable generation forecast, as well as the applicable technical, contractual and environmental constraints. The fully integrated price sensitive forecast provides the central markets with the load elasticity necessary to achieve maximum market efficiency and lower market clearing prices. Using VPower™, clients can maximize economic value through efficient use of distributed resources such as cogeneration, solar, energy storage systems and controllable loads, while simultaneously achieving sustainability objectives. Within a given electricity market, VPower™ allows clients’ controllable resources to appear to the Market Operator as a single, Virtual Generator optimized and ready to be dispatched into the spectrum of energy markets.


EDSA and Paladin are registered trademarks of EDSA Micro Corporation; Paladin DesignBase, Paladin Live, and Paladin SmartGrid are trademarks of EDSA Micro Corporation. AutoCAD is a registered trademark of Autodesk, Inc. Microsoft Windows, Access, Excel, and Visio are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corp. ETAP is a registered trademark of Operations Technology, Inc. DAPPER, CAPTOR, and PowerTools are registered trademarks of SKM Systems Analysis, Inc. EasyPower is a registered trademark of ESA, Inc. All others are trademarks of their respective holders.

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