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Integrating New England Renewables

How to manage the green revolution.

Fortnightly Magazine - November 2009

emissions that contribute to air, land and ground pollution as well as atmospheric changes, and reduce the region’s reliance on imported fuel supplies. In addition, demand-response resources may facilitate the integration of wind resources by reducing demand when the wind stops blowing. To achieve these benefits, the region must prepare to effectively integrate this high level of demand resources into power system operations.

In 2008, the ISO initiated a two-year demand-resource integration project to identify potential barriers to participation and develop solutions. The project already has produced an initial analysis of how these resources would respond under varying conditions and, through collaboration with stakeholders, developed modifications to operational procedures and FCM rules to address issues that the analysis revealed.

To avoid fatigue that could develop among demand-response providers that are called upon too frequently, new dispatch rules scheduled to go into effect next summer divide the region into dispatch zones to allow operators to call on active DR resources precisely where, when, and how often they are needed, rather than calling on all of them every time demand-side reductions are required.

In addition, improvements to the current active DR software and communications infrastructure will be implemented, ensuring that system operators and DR resources can communicate with each other in real time.

The ISO has revised its emergency operating procedures to more effectively employ demand-response resources as reserves. Efforts also are underway to integrate the dispatch of active DR resources alongside conventional supply resources, using a common, standard communications platform.

To improve coordination between the ISO and demand-resource aggregators, the region is creating demand-designated entities (DDEs), which will be responsible for receiving and acting on dispatch instructions from the ISO. DDEs will be the only entities the ISO will communicate with to dispatch instructions for demand resources, thereby streamlining and expediting dispatch of DR.

Stakeholders are continuing to study other issues related to the coordination of, and communication with, demand-response providers to ensure they are used as efficiently as possible to lower demand on the system when needed. Additional changes in procedures or market rules will be made if necessary.

A Smarter System

As the region prepares to embrace large amounts of demand-side and renewable resources, ISO New England is preparing the foundation to improve efficiency and enable the addition and reliable dispatch of these alternative resources.

For New England, the smart grid is the integration of three different types of infrastructure: power system, communications, and information technology infrastructure. Integration of these three components will give grid operators better visibility and control over the system and provide consumers with new tools to manage their own electricity consumption and costs. The ISO actively is implementing several smart-grid projects to better manage computer networks and power system resources, and several smart technologies successfully have been integrated into the transmission system.

The remote intelligent gateway (RIG) master communications equipment, which is based on an older, proprietary technology and is used to dispatch and collect data from generators, is being replaced with more widely available, industry-standard equipment and more efficient processes.

The ISO has installed two phasor