This project was completed in March 2019. The final report is in the publication process. This project conducted a feasibility study for the UniGen Renewable Integration platform, which allows VERs to be scheduled in the Day Ahead Market (DAM). Using the DAM, in conjunction with UniGen and VERs, allows for greater penetration of renewables and a pathway for California to meet the 60% RPS. Onset, now known as Unigen Resources, entered into a partnership with Marin Clean Energy to undertake a pilot project. This project represents the first step toward commercialization of the Unigen Smart System.
This project developed the UniGen Smart Software System, a control software capable of reducing the volatility of energy output from a combination of variable energy resources (VER). VER generation often deviates from forecasts and schedules because of variations in weather. This can be alleviated by a fast-acting control system that automatically compensates for deviations from projected generation using a dedicated mix of energy resources (e.g., a photovoltaic system and an energy storage system). Onset's UniGen control system couples these resources with a primary power plant using proprietary algorithms in a software application in real time so that the combined output corresponds to the committed output. Any deviation is solved at the project or distributed level, making it easier for the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) to manage grid performance
The cost of using UniGen to couple a VER with a dedicated power plant can be substantial, up to $200 million per year for every 1000 MW of VERs. Results indicate that when using UniGen, market participants have financial incentives to schedule VERs, thereby enhancing the integration of a larger amount of renewables. The UniGen Smart System has the potential to save California ratepayers an estimated $36M a year by enabling VER to generate more energy (av
The software could help California achieve aggressive climate change goals by accelerating the penetration of higher levels of renewable energy sources. This project would reduce GHG emissions associated with 2 GW of Combined Cycle plants running at minimum load.
The software could help the California ISO maintain grid reliability and avoid non-compliance with NERC standards. If the controllable generation is insufficient or not timely during the afternoon peak, there is the threat that system frequency will fall below levels required by NERC. This system could assist the California ISO in real-time balancing, which should reduce the likelihood of over or under supply.
Key Project Members
University Enterprises, Inc.