FREEDM Center Demonstrates Distributed Energy Management Control

Achievement date: 

The Future Renewable Electric Energy Delivery and Management Systems Center (FREEDM) – a National Science Foundation (NSF) Engineering Research Center (ERC) based at North Carolina State University – has developed a cooperative energy management framework for use with Embedded Distributed Controllers (such as Distributed Grid Intelligent devices). The framework relies on a Center- Free Incremental Cost Consensus (CF-ICC) algorithm to distribute energy management control throughout the grid. With computation and peer-to-peer communications handled locally, significant gains in energy management capability are achieved.


Conventional energy management systems require a reliable, centralized communication capability to exchange information with each of the controllable devices in the grid. Such global models are difficult to scale and highly vulnerable to a single point of failure. FREEDM’s distributed algorithm eliminates the control center by shifting computation off to small processing units mounted on each of the controllable devices for a more robust and scalable solution. Distributed energy management will also support real-time intelligent power allocation in future energy grid system designs.


There is an urgent need for distributed energy management solutions. While conventional supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems typically handle one communication channel per remote station, the future energy grid will leverage a large amount of Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) that are geographically dispersed. SCADA systems will not be able to handle the massive data flow enabled by DERs, nor can they efficiently make the time-sensitive decisions that will be required of this type of large-scale network control system.