Called Urbanova, the project has been two years in the making and is the first of its kind in Washington state. Urbanova will take on a challenge facing utilities that are trying to incorporate DERs into their daily operations and long term planning – how to understand and monetise the value they offer the grid, both as individual units and together. This concept goes by different names, including transactive energy.
In mid-2016, the Urbanova partners received a US$7m grant from Washington’s Department of Commerce to launch the distributed energy portion of the project. It will start with a microgrid, planned to include 200 kilowatts of solar from two arrays and a combined 2.5 megawatt-hours of battery storage, and integration with two buildings’ energy management systems.