Energy Web Releases Digital Spine Toolkit to the Public
New toolkit provides the underlying digital infrastructure for Australia’s Project EDGE and enables utilities, aggregators, and digital solution providers to harness the full potential of distributed energy resources
Zug, Switzerland, 18 May 2023 — Energy Web, an independent non-profit that develops open-source software to accelerate the global energy transition, today open sourced the Energy Web Digital Spine toolkit, the software powering Australia’s Project EDGE distributed energy resource (DER) marketplace.
This toolkit was developed to help electric utilities and DER aggregators configure and deploy Digital Spines — digital infrastructure that makes it secure, efficient, and simple for distributed energy resources to be fully integrated into local and regional electricity markets — on electric grids around the world. As described by the United Kingdoms’ Energy Digitalization Taskforce recent report on digitizing the grid, Digital Spines have been identified as a powerful tool to “Facilitate efficient system operation, improve access to new markets, and support development of new services for a smart and flexible energy system.”
Over the past year the Digital Spine toolkit has been operating in a production environment to support Project EDGE, an initiative focused on demonstrating the value that DERs can deliver to both wholesale energy markets and distribution networks. The Digital Spine powering Project EDGE enables DERs, via aggregators, to sell services (such as capacity and voltage support) to distribution utilities while simultaneously participating in the wholesale energy market. Bids and offers between DERs and utilities are constrained by operating envelopes — 5 minute voltage, frequency, and power limits DERs must follow to connect to and interact with the grid.
The Digital Spine toolkit currently offers a self-hosted integration gateway as well as cloud-based integration for electric utilities and DER aggregators on Microsoft’s Azure marketplace, and is compatible with a variety of communications protocols including IEEE 2030.5 utility server implementations. Energy Web plans to integrate the Digital Spine toolkit with more cloud marketplaces and release additional configurations to enable secure gateway devices and/or individual DERs, such as smart inverters, to directly integrate with Digital Spines. The Digital Spine toolkit is also designed to help electric utilities construct and launch new solutions focused on digital twinning of distribution networks, advanced distribution planning, demand forecasting, and optimizing DER dispatch.
“If we want to decarbonize the grid, we have to grow a Digital Spine,” said Jesse Morris, CEO of Energy Web. “Utilities today simply do not have the tools needed to fully harness grid flexibility from DERs — flexibility that grid operators will need in order to accommodate more electric load, more solar, and more wind. Digital Spines give utilities that capability.”
“Open source Digital Spines will make it easier for innovative companies to deploy advanced applications on top, “ said Audrey Zibelman, former CEO of AEMO and long-time advocate for the value DERs can bring to the grid. “If we can get companies who deliver DER optimization, forecasting, and other digital solutions to utilities around the world to embrace a consistent, open source template for Digital Spines, it will go a long way towards accelerating digitization — and by extension decarbonization — of the grid.”
The Digital Spine toolkit has five key components:
- A data and message exchange module that enables grid operators to configure and deploy a centralized transport layer in order for market participants to securely exchange messages and datasets (ranging from real-time telemetry to bulk file uploads).
- A client gateway that provides a standardized interface for market participants to interact with the data exchange module.
- An identity and access management solution built-on self-managed, sovereign digital identities to give market participants the ability to mutually authenticate each other’s identity and authorize selective disclosure of data based on roles and responsibilities.
- A governance tool, enabling market participants to encode and enforce rules, roles, and responsibilities that must be met in order for companies to integrate with the spine
- The ability to jointly process data using Energy Web’s open source Worker Node technology. For Project EDGE, Worker Nodes are used to ingest and process data from AEMO, distribution utilities, and DER aggregators prior to partitioning and communicating operating envelopes to DER aggregators in order to maintain network integrity without disclosing sensitive data.
Making Digital Spines reality is at the top of Energy Web’s agenda. In addition to conducting additional related open source technology releases, Energy Web will soon publish thought leadership further defining the value and inner-workings of Digital Spines and is actively convening an ecosystem of digital solution providers to build commercial applications on top of them.
If you are an electric utility interested in learning more or growing a Digital Spine in your market, please contact us here.
If you are a digital solution provider or DER aggregator interested in joining our ecosystem of innovators building commercial solutions on top of Digital Spines, please join us by following the link here.
About Energy Web
Energy Web is a global non-profit accelerating the clean energy transition by developing open-source technology solutions for energy systems. Our enterprise-grade solutions improve coordination across complex energy markets, unlocking the full potential of clean, distributed energy resources for businesses, grid operators, and customers. The Energy Web ecosystem comprises leading utilities, renewable energy developers, grid operators, corporate energy buyers, automotive, internet-of-things, telecommunications leaders, and more. More information on Energy Web can be found at www.energyweb.org or follow us on Twitter @EnergyWebX