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INTEGRATE: Integrated Network Testbed for Energy Grid Research and Technology Experimentation

Solicitation Number: RCS-4-42326
Agency: Department of Energy
Office: Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC (DOE Contractor)
Location: National Renewable Energy Laboratory
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Sources Sought
Added: May 12, 2014 4:47 pm


"INTEGRATE: Integrated Network Testbed for Energy Grid Research and Technology Experimentation"


The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is seeking sources to address grid integration barriers and opportunities associated with variable energy resources, distributed renewable energy generators, electric vehicle charging, and building efficiency and controls. This includes "grid responsive" building technologies, behind-the meter storage technologies, and solid-state power electronics. In addition, insights from industry and others are needed to enable these devices to meet communication and control protocols to interface and transact at the lowest cost possible while maintaining or improving grid reliability.

NREL anticipates issuing a Request for Proposal (RFP) that will focus on characterizing the ability of distributed assets to increase the hosting capacity of the grid and provide grid services, investigate new open-source interoperability platforms, and investigate and demonstrate how clean energy technologies can work together holistically to provide grid services and increase the hosting capacity of these technologies on the grid. It is intended that testing and validation activities will be conducted at the Energy Systems Integration Facility (ESIF) at NREL.

NREL anticipates that approximately $6.5 million will be awarded under the planned RFP. Offerors will be required to cost share a minimum contractor contribution of 50% of the total allowable project costs (i.e. the contractor must agree to absorb a minimum of 50% of the total subcontract costs).


The objective of the INTEGRATE (Integrated Network Testbed for Energy Grid Research and Technology Experimentation) program is to enable energy efficiency, renewable power, and sustainable transportation technologies to increase the hosting capacity of the grid by providing grid services in a holistic manner using an open source, interoperable platform. This will increase the viability and deployment of renewable energy technologies and increase the reliability and efficiency of electricity generation, delivery, and use. The INTEGRATE project will 1) physically characterize a variety of clean energy technologies to provide grid services, 2) implement and evaluate an open communications, information exchange, control, and computation platform, and 3) evaluate integrated solutions for providing services.


Through this planned RFP, NREL intends to support development and validation of technologies under three topics:

Topic Area 1: Connected Devices

Topic Area 1 of INTEGRATE aims to characterize the performance of existing devices (i.e. solar, vehicles, buildings, fuel cell technologies and wind turbines) to provide grid services that help the grid maintain operational stability. Characteristics of these services that must be measured include response times, ramp rates, and minimum and maximum up times. All of that information is necessary to characterize the component characteristics in electricity market models to estimate the value they can provide for energy, regulation, flexibility, and contingency. These technologies will be installed and validated in the ESIF.

As partners under INTEGRATE, technology providers will receive evaluations of their clean energy technologies to provide grid services. This includes the ability of the technologies to provide grid ancillary services (e.g. frequency regulation, spinning reserve, etc.) and other services of value to the grid. Technologies, which provide connected control, that are of interest include the following and related devices:

• Residential PV inverters - individually and as a group
• Non-residential PV inverters - individually and as a group
• Integrated renewable and energy storage systems
• Closed-loop power hardware-in-the-loop (PHIL) system testing
  o Determining default smart inverter settings
  o Grid-support behaviors of aggregation of small distributed PV
  o Developing model library for power system components
• Battery Energy Storage Systems
• Fuel Cell Systems
• Other Small Renewable Power Systems (e.g. wind, hydro/conduit, etc.)
• Grid Connected vehicles
• Combine heat and power (CHP) units
• Thermal Energy Storage systems
• Home Energy Management Systems
• Campus Energy Management Systems
• Microgrid Energy Management Systems
• Distribution system voltage control units
• Lighting systems
• Refrigeration units
• Heating and cooling systems
• Home Appliances

This topic is not intended for the development of new devices, rather it is intended to help establish the methodology for enabling mature devices to provide grid services.

Topic Area 2: Communication and Control Systems

To demonstrate operation of and carry out research on an integrated system consistent of multiple energy technologies (wind, solar, vehicles, building appliances, etc.) it is necessary to develop a communication, information, and computation (CIC) layer that supports system level control, e.g. to balance energy production and consumption and optimize operation. For this CIC layer to be fully interoperable and open sourced, it must be compatible with the common information model (CIM) and commonly used communication standards like IEC61850, SEP 2.0, DNP3, etc. Topic Area 2 of INTEGRATE project deals with the requirements, design, construction, and operation of the CIC layer.

For the CIC layer, INTEGRATE seeks to lay the foundation for simulating, testing, and comparing CIC architectures for the future power system. This includes centralized, distributed, hierarchical, and hybrid architectures using an assortment of communication and computation platforms. The CIC layer will also require additional, test-only functionality for such tasks as coordinating the simulated grid environment (e.g. PHIL testing), research-grade high-speed data acquisition, and multi-lab test coordination. Both the grid-deployed and test support elements must address data acquisition, data management, computation, co-simulation, storage, bandwidth and interoperability, and usability requirements.

Successful offerors will design, build, and test a flexible, open-source CIC infrastructure that allows for the interoperability of multiple energy efficiency, renewable power, and sustainable transportation technologies in a secure fashion. No proprietary CIC solutions will be considered in whole or in part.

Topic Area 3: Integrated Systems

Topic Area 3 of INTEGRATE seeks to investigate and demonstrate how clean energy technologies can work together holistically to provide grid services and increase the hosting capacity of these technologies on the grid. It will enable study of not only a single integrated system, but also various classes of energy systems, and various systems architectures using an open communication, information, and computation framework. This project will be the foundation to directly impact how future sustainable energy systems at various scales must be designed, operated, and managed in order to achieve their sustainability, economy and reliability objectives as well as paving the way for adoption of clean energy technologies at scale.

Successful offerors will develop and test solutions that leverage the characteristics (both energy consumption and generation characteristics) of clean energy technologies through connected controls (i.e. controls that use information to manage the connected technologies) to increase and/or enhance the deployment and integration of clean energy technologies in service territories through real and simulated installations. It is expected that successful offeros will propose integration of mature devices, with development efforts focused on integration and interoperability of these devices in a full system.

The planned RFP is focused primarily on the development of applications, resources, and solutions to the following use cases:

• Consumer focused "Smart Home"
• Owner focused building campuses
• Service Territory Distribution Feeder


Individuals or organizations responding to this Sources Sought request must describe capabilities, attributes, and skills in one or more of the following specific areas of expertise in:

• Addressing all aspects of the proposed work with a good chance of success.
• Technical understanding of the facilities needed to support the work.
• Facilitating and expediting further development and commercial deployment of the proposed technologies.
• Coordinating and involving appropriate levels of participation by the industry, standards organizations, and electric utilities.


The response to this sources sought document is limited to four (4) pages of single spaced text of 12-point font, with minimum 1" margins. Brevity is encouraged. All responses shall directly address the areas of expertise described within this document.

All responses shall be submitted in writing via e-mail to Electronic format of the response shall be in MSWord/Excel, or converted to .pdf. Electronic files in excess of 10MB will not be accepted.

Responses to this notice, must be received by the response date (May 19, 2014, 4:00 p.m. MDT). Responding to this request identifies your organization as an interested party only. Questions will not be accepted. Your submittal is not in response to a Request for Proposals (RFP).

15013 Denver West Parkway
Golden, Colorado 80401
United States
National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Energy Systems Integration Facility (ESIF)
15013 Denver West Parkway
Golden, Colorado 80401
United States
John Enoch,
Supervisor, Contracts & Business Services
Phone: 303-275-3218