Economic Dispatch is a methodology that coordinates a building’s combined heating, cooling, and power system (CHP) with associated building systems and the power grid. A PNNL-developed technology has cost-effectively realized Economic Dispatch, demonstrating that a CHP can meet all building needs and earn more income than usual from selling its excess electricity to the grid.
Under Economic Dispatch, a range of energy supply and demand factors including weather conditions, local energy consumption, and electricity costs are monitored. These various factors then inform CHP and building system operations. The goal is to manage the CHP in a manner that optimizes generation, keeps the building completely functional (occupants warm or cool), and contributes to reliable and resilient grid operations.
The PNNL technology that enables Economic Dispatch links the VOLTTRON™ distributed sensing and control platform and PNNL-crafted algorithms with the CHP and associated building systems. The fully automated technology makes decisions related to CHP production and building energy needs and coordinates with the grid. PNNL’s method was successfully tested in 2019 in a multi-month evaluation at a New York energy provider’s plant.
The U.S. Department of Energy’s Building Technologies Office continues to support PNNL’s Economic Dispatch development efforts.