There will never be one DERMS to rule them all ... and it's only getting more complex, with no end in sight.

Posted
on
May 9, 2024

It’s time to embrace the “distributed” in Distributed Energy Resources.

"The good thing about standards is that there are so many to choose from." 
― Andrew S. Tanenbaum

Distributed Energy Resource Management Systems (DERMS) are like standards: there are a lot of them out there, and there will only be more to choose from in the future. In the end, there will never be one DERMS to rule them all. 

With so many DERMS platforms available, each with its unique features and capabilities, the challenge lies in finding a way to measure and integrate their performance effectively.

The solution is a platform that can provide constant and transparent measurement and resource valuation that is independent of any specific DERMS platform, or class of distributed energy resource in the market.

Distributed Energy Resource Management Systems (DERMS) are advanced software platforms designed to manage distributed energy resources (DERs) such as solar panels, energy storage systems, electric vehicles, smart thermostats, and many others. DERMS help integrate these resources into the electric grid to maintain or enhance grid stability, efficiency, and sustainability. However, while DERMS play an increasingly important role in creating a clean, resilient energy system, managing it also presents challenges. 

Integrating a variety of distributed energy resources, each with its unique characteristics and operating requirements, into a unified system is technically complex. Collecting energy-use data from different devices is costly, complicated, and time-consuming. Different types of devices and brands within a type operate differently, requiring bespoke rules for how their data is interpreted and used in calculations.

DERMS must handle different generation types, scales, and technologies, which adds to the complexity of grid management. Managing large volumes of data from diverse sources and converting it into actionable insights requires sophisticated data analytics capabilities, which can be challenging to develop and maintain.

The crux of these challenges is navigating the intricacies of data, devices, and human behavior to unlock verifiable energy savings.

Recurve's DERMS integration helps address these challenges by measuring changes in energy consumption at the meter, independent of devices or any specific DERMS platform. The Recurve platform then integrates this metered performance with dispatch data from a wide variety of dispatchable DERs to give utilities and providers a detailed understanding of how each resource performs and interacts within the energy system. 

Recurve's DERMS integration synergistically complements DERMS. While DERMS control and manages devices, our integration measures their impact, offering a comprehensive view of energy savings and grid benefits. This partnership enables utilities and aggregators to maximize the potential of their DER strategies, ensuring optimized performance, regulatory compliance, and effective integration into energy markets.

How Revenue-Grade Measurement Can Address Challenges and Help Utilities Optimize DERMS 

Establishing a Reliable Baseline

Without a clear understanding of what would have happened without specific DERMS interventions, quantifying actual savings becomes an exercise in speculation. The assumption that turning off or adjusting a device correlates exactly with actual energy savings ignores the nuances of device performance in the real world. For example, in addition to operational adjustments, a smart thermostat's contribution to energy savings depends on external factors like a building's thermal dynamics, weather, and user behaviors. Without documenting or accounting for the prior energy use of a building and establishing a counterfactual of what energy use would have been if a DERMS hadn't been added or adjusted, it's impossible to get a clear picture of true energy impacts. 

Recurve’s DERMS integration uses smart meter data to establish accurate baselines, overcoming the challenge of unknown preconditions and variable device performance. This data provides a real-world comparison point to isolate impacts from the wide range of external factors that may impact energy consumption.

Vendor Trust and Data Provenance

Because vendors have a financial incentive to report high savings from their devices, relying on data from those devices alone creates a potentially problematic conflict of interest, especially in pay-for-performance scenarios. 

As a third-party, back-end solution for DERMS platforms, the Recurve DERMS Integration provides robust, independent, verifiable measurement to give utilities everything they need to ensure that platforms are optimized and delivering value to the grid. As a third party to the transaction, Recurve ensures data integrity and mitigates the risk of biased data reporting. Open-source, transparent Measurement and Verification (M&V) methods provide a reliable foundation for trust and verification.

With revenue-grade results, utilities can align incentives, implement pay-for-performance models, and fully integrate DERMS into demand forecasts, procurement stacks, and energy markets.

Complexity of Measurement and Verification (M&V) and the Need for Standardization

The DERMS ecosystem comprises an exponentially growing list of devices and technologies, each requiring bespoke M&V plans. This diversity introduces complexity into the measurement process, making applying a one-size-fits-all approach to energy savings verification difficult. As the number of devices and technologies within the DERMS umbrella grows, achieving standardization in measurement practices becomes increasingly challenging. The heterogeneity of devices and the absence of consistent data formats further exacerbate this issue. Different devices and vendors may require unique methodologies for measuring energy savings, leading to inconsistency and complexity in M&V practices. This makes the measurement process more resource-intensive and introduces variability in the reported savings.

Recurve's platform offers a unified approach to measuring the impact of diverse DERs, eliminating the need for bespoke M&V plans for each device or vendor. This significantly reduces the complexity and resource intensity of integrating new technologies.

A Streamlined Solution for DERMS and Behind-the-Meter Complexity

Recurve's DERMS integration solution simplifies the complex world of DERMS and behind-the-meter resources. This innovative approach efficiently addresses the long-standing integration, measurement, and verification challenges in the energy sector. 

Crucially, this solution is "shovel-ready," requiring no extensive integration efforts, adoption of new standards, or development of device-specific M&V approaches. Its use of proven, tested methods and smart meter data makes it a scalable, future-proof choice for managing the increasing complexity of distributed technologies.

Utilizing existing technology, Recurve’s DERMS integration is ready to implement immediately with 80% of U.S. customers who have smart meters. This solution sets a new standard for synergy and sustainability in the energy landscape, making it a practical and effective tool for today's energy needs.

Want to learn more? Check out our fact sheet and schedule a call with one of our experts to see how Recurve’s DERMS integration can help you optimize your DER programs.

Want to learn more?

Schedule a call with one of our specialists to learn how our solutions can transform your distributed energy resource strategy.

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