Electrotek Concepts, a division of WPT Inc, has been selected by the US Department of Energy (DOE) and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to demonstrate the aggregation of dispatchable backup generators to provide energy and ancillary services in New York State’s price-responsive load market. Under the project, backup generator supply will be dispatchable as a substitute for electricity normally supplied through the competitive energy market operated by the New York Independent System Operator.

From the perspective of utility distribution companies, such as the Long Island Power Authority, the backup generators will function as a demand-side management tool. This contract represents the second award from NYSERDA to Electrotek for the aggregation backup generators as an additional power source. In May the company was awarded a contract to aggregate load in New York under the Emergency Demand Response Program. To date, Electrotek has recruited more than 25 MW of load for this programme. The primary objectives of the three-year Long Island programme are demonstration of the feasibility of aggregated power in a real-world setting, identification of economic and environmental impacts of aggregated generation and determination of market conditions that must be addressed for the aggregated power concept to be accepted by backup generator owners. The project is consistent with the goal of the DOE Office of Power Technologies, a vision of full-valued distributed power in an automated and adaptive electric power system that allows customers to sell power, employ load management and provide operations support services as easily as the utilities are able to do. The first year of the project includes a survey of backup units in Nassau and Suffolk counties and the identification of backup generation owners to participate in a field test. The second year involves field testing, the recruitment of participants and a commercial demonstration of the concept. The third year consists of a commercial operation aggregating 3 MW of load. As part of the project, Electrotek will be responsible for developing, installing and operating a system of connections, controls, and protection to aggregate backup generators that can be dispatched to provide spinning reserve, interruptible load, and peak power. Electrotek also will design a control room to monitor status of participating backup and dispatch units, with controls added to enable remote startup and automatic disconnect of each unit from the power grid.

According to WPT, distributed generation and aggregation of distributed resources have the potential to quickly and cost-effectively answer some of the USA’s most pressing energy needs. This project incorporates price responsive load operating in competitive markets, thereby taking advantage of existing resources that are in place and available for dispatch.

A key component of the project is the use of state-of-the-art monitoring and control technology that connects the participating backup generators with a centra1control operation. The selected control technology is the Signature system, a proprietary, web-based monitoring and control system developed by Electrotek Concepts and its sister company, Dranetz-BMI in cooperation with EPRI and the Tennessee Valley Authority. The full aggregation system will incorporate algorithms and market factors to actively benefit from the opportunities presented by the State of New York’s price-responsive load market.