Enabling Energy Mashups

I’ll describe energy mashups in detail in upcoming posts. For now, think of systems of systems that dynamically, self-assemble and reassemble as needs change. Many more ideas (and links) will be in future posts.

Staying abstract for the moment, an Actor in the EML world has two concentric shells surrounding it. The Actor is your device, system, or system of systems—say a microgrid, an appliance, a building, or an HVAC unit—and is entirely your business. The agents support the Actor by deciding actions. Transactive services take management decisions to buy or sell and implement them

EML plans to deliver the code for the standards-based Agent Shell (red in the diagram) and the Transactive Shell (green) using standard environments and Service-Oriented Energy.

What’s Service-Oriented Energy?  First, we’ll call it SOE. Toby Considine and William Cox (respectively Director and CTO of Energy Mashup Labs) first defined SOE in 2008 and 2009. Considine’s 2008 blog post, SAAS and Power and Service Oriented Energy was followed with a Grid-Interop 2009 paper, Price Communication, Product Definition, and Service-Oriented Energy which describes price and product definition, and hints at how the product definition model extends beyond energy. Key benefits are efficient allocation, automatic adaptation, extensibility, and standard information exchanges.

The Transactive Shell engages in standard buy-sell-quote-confirmation actions; these are the basis of what has come to be called Transactive Energy (see, for instance, the Transactive Energy Association and its LinkedIn presence; join at the link). In effect, the Transactive Shell performs merchant, factor, or broker-like function, carrying out buy and sell instructions. The Transactive Shell enables mashups, or assembly of energy-aware agents.

The Agent Shell applies understanding of the system it wraps, and has budgets, applies policy, negotiates, and (through the Transactive Shell) buys and sells.

In a future post we’ll explore in detail what is bought and sold. Price and Product Definition are both critical to Agent decisions—quoting from the 2009 paper

When I ask you go to the store for tomatoes, do you tell me that the price is “3”? That doesn’t convey enough information. There are characteristics of tomatoes that are important to some purchasers

  • Where did they come from?
  • What are their qualities?
  • What is the quantity or units?
  • The condition?

Markets define different prices for tomatoes with specific identifiable characteristics. For example, organic tomatoes usually command a premium, as do ones in good condition, vine-ripened, and neither over- nor under -ripe.

The interested reader can start there. Realize that What is involved in a transaction is described by the product definition. The price is for a specific product, which includes time, place, and quantity.

We at EML will be developing open source code for How the information is communicated, and specific agents to build transactive resource-based systems.

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