Energy Web’s Digital Spine toolkit, developed to power Australia’s Project EDGE distributed energy resource (DER) marketplace, is now public.
The toolkit, the next to be made open source by Energy Web, is intended to enable utilities and aggregators to configure and deploy digital spines with a self-hosted integration gateway and cloud-based integration.
Currently integration is with Microsoft’s Azure marketplace but further cloud marketplaces are in prospect as are additional configurations to enable secure gateway devices and/or individual DERs, such as smart inverters, to directly integrate with the digital spines.
The Digital Spine toolkit is also designed to help electric utilities construct and launch new solutions focused on digital twinning of distribution networks, advanced distribution planning, demand forecasting and optimising DER dispatch.
A digital spine is a network of connected nodes that are deployed by organisations across the energy sector that can enable data to be ingested, standardised and shared in near real time.
Each node ingests data about the energy system, standardises it and shares it via a standard interface that can be accessed by other nodes in the network to enable it to be acted upon.
Such data can include both operational and financial data and for example price signals, essential for the operation of multiple distributed energy assets by multiple parties.
Project EDGE (Energy Demand and Data Exchange) was undertaken with the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) to demonstrate the potential for aggregations of consumer-owned distributed energy resources to deliver energy services to the wholesale power system and at local network levels.
The Digital Spine powering Project EDGE enables DERs, via aggregators, to sell services such as capacity and voltage support to distribution utilities while simultaneously participating in the wholesale energy market.
Bids and offers between DERs and utilities are constrained by the safe operating ranges or ‘operating envelopes’ of the DERs based on the 5 minute voltage, frequency and power limits they must follow to connect to and interact with the grid.
“If we want to decarbonise the grid, we have to grow a digital spine,” said Jesse Morris, CEO of Energy Web.
“Utilities today simply do not have the tools needed to fully harness grid flexibility from DERs. Digital spines give utilities that capability.”
Digital Spine toolkit
The Digital spine toolkit has five key components:
• A data and message exchange module to enable grid operators to configure and deploy a centralised transport layer in order for market participants to securely exchange messages and datasets.
• A client gateway that provides a standardised interface for market participants to interact with the data exchange module.
• An identity and access management solution built on self-managed, sovereign digital identities to give market participants the ability to mutually authenticate each other’s identity and authorise selective disclosure of data based on roles and responsibilities.
• A governance tool to enable market participants to encode and enforce rules, roles, and responsibilities that must be met in order for companies to integrate with the spine
• The ability to jointly process data using Energy Web’s open source Worker Node technology.
For Project EDGE, worker nodes are used to ingest and process data from AEMO, distribution utilities and DER aggregators prior to partitioning and communicating the operating envelopes to DER aggregators in order to maintain network integrity without disclosing sensitive data.
Energy Web is currently convening an ecosystem of digital solution providers to build commercial applications on top of digital spines.