GridBallast: Autonomous Load Control For Grid Resilience
The North American electric grid is facing exponential growth in distributed energy resources. The GridBallast project will create low-cost demand-side management technology to address resiliency and stability concerns accompanying this growth. Specifically, GridBallast technology will monitor voltage and frequency, control load to address excursions from operating targets, and will be able to operate autonomously, allowing for rapid local response. The project consists of three major phases: 1) Simulation, 2) Hardware Development, and 3) Deployment. The project team will do the initial design of the controls in the simulation phase, then build control hardware for water heaters and circuit breaker-connected loads in the hardware development phase, and finally field test that hardware at residential customers of distribution utilities in the final phase. The results of the simulations and the field tests will be used to demonstrate the effectiveness of autonomous demand control for distributed energy resources. We aim to show that this technology will enable reliable deployment of renewable generation at penetration levels of 50% and higher.