Distributed Energy Resources (DERs), DER Aggregations, and Virtual Power Plants supporting the Power Grid

DERA Use Case Survey Tool

A key cross-cutting challenge for different stakeholders is the difficulty to communicate in similar contexts about generic DER Aggregation (DERA) and their potential challenges. DERs assume many different forms, and due to FERC’s rule of heterogeneity, DERAs can be even more varied.  As ISO/RTOs, distribution utilities, DER aggregators, RERRAs, and other stakeholders work to solve problems, they need to examine common and unique DERA possibilities, assess their use case, and identify hurdles. This enables determination of mitigation strategies that can improve the ability to integrate a large set of existing and future DERs to participate in wholesale markets in the future. With this motivation, DERA Market Participation Use Case Survey Tool was developed.

DERA Use Case Survey Tool
motivation & characteristics

Allow a common understanding of DERA possibilities, challenges & potential solutions.

  • Applicable Market Services

  • Program Participation Information

  • Interconnection Data

  • DER Technologies

  • Aggregation Specific Information

Use Case Definition

A screenshot of the tool showing the Use Case Definition tab.

The tool is an advanced, dynamic survey form. The concept is to enable multiple stakeholders and experts in the industry to proceed through a DERA use case to determine whether various activities present additional important considerations, challenges that require further mitigation, or barriers that may prevent the DERA from full participation. After users incorporate information into the survey, they can submit it to EPRI. EPRI will compile the information and share it with stakeholders and previous contributors to determine whether solutions or changes may be needed. Solutions can include new tools, data exchanges, coordination needs, market design and tariff changes, and regulatory changes.

The primary features include adding a DERA use case and entering survey information on any potential challenges or barriers associated with the DERA use case. The following characteristics make up the DERA use case: 

    • DER interconnection locations

    • Number of points of interconnection

    • Number of distribution circuits across which the aggregation is distributed

    • Number of transmission pricing nodes across the aggregation

    • Whether the aggregation is generally injecting or withdrawing, and with reference to what  

    • The wholesale market product or service in which it participates

    • Whether it provides services to the distribution utility

    • Whether it provides customer services

    • The type of retail program, if any, in which it participates

    • The DER technologies that make up the aggregation

    Key Takeaways

    • The success of the DERA Market Participant Use Case Survey Tool will depend on the number of users that provide entries. The information should be useful for all types of stakeholders and researchers. EPRI plans to use the tool in various efforts and across multiple research initiatives.

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