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Flexibility services management encompasses integrated solutions for Distribution Utilities and DSOs to manage customer-provided flexibility services, giving control of distribution grid capacity in planned and unplanned events.  Flexibility services are commonly regarded as an essential component of a smarter, flexible grid that offers an alternative to expensive grid asset upgrades.  Regulators increasingly require the deployment of flexibility services as part of utilities’ economic business and system development strategies.

Our Flexibility Services Management solutions draw upon our Strata Grid product capabilities for distribution utilities and our Cirrus Flex product for DER asset operators and flexibility service providers.

Problem

Historically, load growth was predictable and steady and when load reached a certain threshold, if only for a few hours each year, a grid upgrade would be triggered.  Similarly, when unplanned events occurred, there was sufficient additional capacity and grid assets in place to secure customer load and grid integrity.

Electric loads are expected to grow significantly in the coming years from heat and transport electrification.  At the same time, there is regulatory pressure to use customer, DER and demand side flexibility as an alternative to grid asset upgrades and additions. The challenge for distribution utilities is to manage customer provided load-relief services so that they provide a true alternative to grid upgrades.

Customers are more aware of the potential to offer flexibility services, managing the operations of their own DER assets to gain reduced grid charges or discrete flexibility service payments. Flexibility services are expected to save distribution utilities millions of dollars in avoided or deferred capital expenditure. The challenge for DER developers, owners, operators and aggregators is to maximize the value of their DER assets through beneficial provision of flexibility services to distribution utilities, while protecting any other revenue streams or primary business objectives.

Solution

Our Flexibility Services Management solutions are based on our Strata Grid product, which connects DER to grid operations to deliver highly localized demand response and dependable load relief.  The core product features real-time grid monitoring and control, wide-area multi-site DER management and close integration to utility systems and processes.  This delivers exactly what distribution utilities require for effective flexibility services implementation and roll-out at scale.

Strata Grid manages the delivery of flexibility services to meet utility requirements from front-of-meter merchant DER assets, Industrial & Commercial DER deployments and aggregated residential DER. 

Strata Grid integrates to and supports the markets for location-based flexibility services, delivers the control response through a combination of scheduled and real-time control, and provides all the required data management support for settlement and reporting of service delivery.  Fail-to-safe features allow for service delivery remediation which is expected to become increasingly important as dependency on customer flexibility grows and over-procurement and under-delivery of flexibility services becomes uneconomical and untenable.  Strata Grid has all the capabilities to handle and use forecasts to schedule and optimize flexibility services.

Cirrus Flex provides the means of participation in flexibility services opportunities for the owners and operators of DER assets and demand side flexibility. Our solution secures the flex service revenue streams by scheduling and controlling DER assets. This revenue can be stacked and coordinated with secondary cost-saving and revenue streams for on-site DER and with primary business objectives for on-site assets. Cirrus Flex provides the asset communications and control connectivity, the access points to distribution utility operational and market systems as well as other data and reporting services.  We integrate the operational, control and data flows to customer systems and processes to ensure that both operational and revenue goals are met.

Case Studies

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