(Meeting Location:  Virtual Format / Zoom)

Hosted By: University of

North Carolina at Charlotte

The CAPER Fall 2021 Meeting theme received a big boost after Southeast Energy Exchange Market (SEEM) member utilities received clearance from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for their proposed trading platform as a result of a 2-2 commission vote. By statutory law, tie votes on items are approved. Come share with us a meeting designed to examine SEEM in detail beginning with a tutorial from experts on SEEM to a thorough review of opportunities for research in the now approved SEEM future.


The Center for Advanced Power Engineering and Research (CAPER) is a collaboration among three universities and industry members focusing on research and educational needs in the electric power industry in the southeast region of the U.S.  CAPER holds two General Meetings each year, spring and fall, each hosted by a member University.  In attendance are CAPER researchers and students along with industry and government representatives to present current industry topics, update sponsored projects and take part in discussions about the Center’s research and education activities.

We wish to thank Dr. Michael Mazzola, CAPER Center Director and Dr. Badrul Chowdhury, CAPER Center Co-Director both of UNC Charlotte for hosting this virtual meeting.  Special thanks go to Shannon Jenkins for all the many arrangements that were required for this meeting.  We also wish to thank our Industry Members, Faculty and Students for participating in the Tutorial and General Meeting.


The meeting took place virtually via Zoom invitation.

Tutorial:  58 – (10 Faculty, 14 Industry and 34 Students)
General Meeting:  98 – (15 Faculty, 30 Industry and 53 Students)

Tuesday – November 2nd, 2021 Tutorial – Electricity Market Designs and Operations – 101

Dr. Jeremy Lin, 7X Analytics – Market Designs

Traditional Electric Utility design:

  • Obligation to serve
  • Utility owns all assets
  • Concerns exist around over-investment and inefficient use of assets
  • Costs recovered through regulated rates

Power Market designs include:

  • Day ahead
  • Real time
  • Energy- day ahead
  • Capacity market
  • Ancillary services – regulation, spinning reserves, non-spinning reserves

Wes Hudson and Rod Gagen, Dominion Energy – Market Operations

  • PJM is part of eastern interconnect and 21% of US GDP produced in PJM
  • Wholesale Electric Market made up of: Energy Market, Capacity Market and Ancillary Services Market
  • “Bid Stack” allows the ISO to compare resource offers and then establish a single Energy Clearing Price for resources used to meet demand on the system. All generators used to meet demand are paid the same price.

Dr. Pengwei Du, ERCOT – Lessons Learned from February 2021 Event

  • ERCOT four primary responsibilities:

– System reliability

– Competitive wholesale market

– Open access to transmission

– Competitive retail market

  • ERCOT is one of several independent system operators and regional transmission organizations in the U.S. and Canada.
  • Record peak demand on Aug 12, 2019 was 74,820 MW
  • On Feb 15, 2021, as time progressed, situation on the ground worsened, Wind Resources submitted outages in ERCOT’s Outage Scheduler to indicate their inability to operate.
  • In summary, the variabilities and uncertainties increased on both resource and demand sides, driven by the shift in the resource portfolio and market actions.
  • Market and Operation Studies still largely use a deterministic scenario, which could significantly deviate from the actual operation conditions.
  • Need to strike a balance between the economics and grid reliability

– It will infeasible and inefficient to operate a grid with a goal to achieve a 100 percentage of the grid reliability.

– It will be infeasible and inefficient to operate a grid with a goal to achieve a 100 percentage of the grid reliability.


General Meeting (Day 1):

The meeting started at 1:00 pm with a CAPER welcome introduction and sharing of “In the News” by CAPER Steering Committee Chair, Steven Whisenant.

Plenary Session – Energy Transition Impacts on Current Electricity Markets– led by Dr. Michael Mazzola, CAPER Center Director at UNC Charlotte

Dr. Jacob Mays, Cornell University – Capacity Markets and the Energy Transition

  • Deep carbon reductions currently in US
  • Wind & Solar will blow-up Power Markets
  • Why consider RTOs?

– Consolidate balancing areas

– Facilitates trade across larger balancing areas

Session I – What is a Southeast Energy Exchange Market (SEEM) led by Steven Whisenant, CAPER Steering Committee Chair

Kendal Bowman, Duke Energy – Policy & Regulatory

  • SEEM is a region automated “energy only” platform agreement
  • Provides lower costs to customers
  • Totally voluntary
  • Utilities retain control of generation and transmission

Charlie Bayless, NCEMC – Co-op Perspective

  • SEEM allows optimization of existing assets
  • More efficient use of renewables
  • SEEM allows integration of renewables

Sammy Roberts, Duke Energy – System Operations under a SEEM Environment

  • Goal of SEEM is to be simple to implement
  • Bilateral market structure is hourly schedule
  • SEEM is an auto market with 15 min ahead schedule

Session II – CAPER Sponsored Sr. Design Projects led by Dr. Michael Mazzola, CAPER Director

Each year, CAPER sponsors a Senior Design Team at each of its three Universities.  Financial support is provided by the Duke Foundation and an Industry Advisor is assigned to mentor and guide each team.  At this meeting, our three teams reported on the progress and plans for completion of their projects.

Wednesday – November 3rd, 2021 General Day (Day 2): 

The meeting started at 8:30 am with highlights of day one and objectives for the day by CAPER Steering Committee Chair, Steven Whisenant.

Session III – Engineering Gaps for SEEMS led by Dr. Michael Mazzola, CAPER Center Director at UNC Charlotte

Jessica Bian, Grid-X Partners – Regulatory Aspects of Implementing Advanced Technology

  • Westinghouse FACTS such as Power Flow Controller is a technology that never happened
  • Retail electricity prices from a high in Hawaii of 51cents/kw-hr, to Southeast at 12 cents/kw-hr. Demark is at 41 cents/kw-hr, US at 12 cents/kw-hr and Russia at 11 cents/kw-hr
  • Unfortunately, FERC learns by failure

Matt Hammond, Dominion Energy – SEEM – Mechanics of the Market

  • For Dominion – NC, new generation is mainly solar interconnects
  • Adding 500 MW which is an 18% increase in one year
  • SEEM offers $3B in benefits for customers in the region

Mattew Lind, 1898 & Co. / Burns & McDonnell – Economic benefits (variable and fixed costs) to pooling resources – current state/future state

  • Pros and Cons: Regional Markets
  • Pros:

– Enhanced resource efficiency

– Power production

– Reserve sharing

– Geographic diversity

– Access to market/s

– Information transparency

– Efficient integration of renewable energy sources

  • Cons:

– Additional stakeholders

– Cost allocation

– Regulatory jurisdictions

– Increased administrative burden – People, Software, Security

  • SEEM offers potential for reduced investment needed at peak
  • Interest in regional energy balancing increasing
  • Potential for compelling benefits with expansion of intermittent energy technologies


Session IV & V – CAPER Project Updates led by Dr. Badrul Chowdhury, CAPER Center Co-Director

Session IV CAPER Base Project Updates
PG-01: Distributed Energy Storage and EV Holding Capacity Value Proposition Development Dr. Johan Enslin
DM-03: Integrated Grid Operations System for Inverter-based Resources Dr. Johan Enslin
PG-03: AI based Arc Fault Detection for PV Systems Dr. Tiefu Zhao
PG-02: Incorporating EV and EV Charging Stations into Integrated Resource Planning Dr. Linquan Bai
Session V – CAPER Enhancement Project Updates Steven Whisenant
CSC Chair
PU-01: Comparative Power Flow Analysis and Power Flow Quality Criteria -Final Dr. Valentina Cecchi
EHP-08-PU: Comparative Power Flow Dr. Valentina Cecchi
EHP-07-PG: Integrated T&D Model Dr. David Lubkeman


Session VI – 2022 Research Planning Session

  • Participants took part in five Break Out Groups, one for each of the five CAPER Research Themes
  • Discussed potential research projects
  • Each Break Out Group lead shared the discussions

All five groups provided a summary:

Group 1 – Power Delivery Infrastructure and Systems

Discussion Objectives: To determine potential research topics for this theme for the 2022 Research solicitation.

Potential Research Topics:

    • Blackstart – What is left at the end of the outage? AI type system to assess last known state and what steps might be needed to put system back together.
      • GMD – How to mitigate impacts in our region, what is really necessary, how to do it cheaply?
      • DMS Power flow – Further evaluation of the DMS power flow with respect to root causes.
      • EVs – What is the impact of charging EVs on distribution transformers? Will they have to be derated to handle the harmonics, etc.? Is there also an impact on the substation transformers?
      • Fault Magnitude Value – What value is most useful for calculating a fault location? Can data be sent back automatically that could locate a fault rather than requiring a person to do the calculations? How can existing automatic methods be improved?

Discussion Results:

      • Reliability – What is the right level of reliability? How to efficiently reach that? What are the breakpoints? How do you incorporate protection into a changing circuit?
      • Microgrids/Reliability Batteries – How to get a battery used for resilience prepared for high probability outages? Looking at contributing factors and automatically dispatching to charge rather than relying on an operator to make the decision to charge. What telemetry is necessary to implement?
      • Minimum viable system model– What is absolutely necessary for a model to solve accurately vs what is just a nice to have? Could be particularly helpful given some of our existing project challenges. Could allow more portability of software.
      • Line Voltage Regulator Coordination with DER – When the current direction flips, the current controllers don’t change mode of operations. Regulators need changed manually, locked out, changing controllers, etc. What techniques can be used to determine which side is the source better (without excessive tap changes)?


Group 2 – Energy Policy, Markets and Economics

Discussion Objectives: To determine potential research topics for this theme for the 2022 Research solicitation.

Potential Research Topics:

      • Benefits from SEEM and highlight how those would really be shared? Who gets what?
      • Leveraging data analytics methods to the address load forecasting and renewable energy forecasting questions? Extending beyond regression-based methods only. Forecasting loads for specific distribution system use cases.
      • Benefits, costs of joint dispatch (Social welfare)
      • Identify categories of benefits (i.e. Differing amounts of solar)

– Categorize benefits that come in SEEM, size of benefits, which would be most important, appropriate formulas for benefit calculations.

      • Costs of Ancillary Services for SEEM
      • Updating load forecasting technique-Data analytics
      • Integrating variable energy resources into IRP and its role in net-zero goal.

Discussion Results:

      • Evolution of SEEM to a typical ISO or RTO structure? Do we see that happening?
      • Modeling how different participants will be involved? How will those interactions be different from others?
      • Joint dispatch across multiple participants in the SEEM market?
      • Variability of renewable energy resource and other needs for ancillary services?
      • What resources are eligible for SEEM participation?

– Comparing multiple mechanisms within SEEM?

– Nuclear fleet operation and how does SEEM affect different generators?

      • Variability of renewable energy resource and other needs for ancillary services
      • Does shared resource go to the highest bidder, or first come first serve? What about other resource sharing, such as excess peak capacity?
      • How does SEEM reward utility in a cost-plus regulatory environment?
      • How will SEEM affect nuclear fleet?
      • Which existing resources gain, and which ones lose?
      • Data transparency due to SEEM (better availability), benefit, more tools (ML/DL) can help in better planning and improved/better forecasting?

– Generally use lin regression (China), risky to use DL due to over fitting?

      • Historical data may not be representative of future (climate change?) DL blackbox vs. LR easy to understand.


Group 3 – Data Management and Advanced Analytics

Discussion Objectives: To determine potential research topics for this theme for the 2022 Research solicitation.

Potential Research Topics:

      • Interconnect Grid Simulators fast enough to meet cyber/protection communication
      • How to handle missing data? Remove, interpolate

Discussion Results:

      • How to collect proprietary data from industry to do ML and AI

–  Requires large data sets to train algorithms

      • Software integration from other systems not just T&D

–  Electric vehicle, buildings, etc.


Group 4 – Power Generation, Storage & Integration

Discussion Objectives: To determine potential research topics for this theme for the 2022 Research solicitation.

Potential Research Topics:

      • Lifecycle of different resources (PV inverters, storage SOH short life)
      • IBRs fault current (protection challenges), HIL studies
      • Role of distributed storage in improving grid resiliency
      • Which clean resources to add and Tx impacts – Marine, offshore wind?
      • Conventional generation and re-fueling options (Hydrogen)
      • Which energy storage options are the best?
      • How to determine best location and sizing of ESS?
      • How to optimize, control and size energy storage systems?
      • How to program relays to detect fault in presence of conventional and renewable Resources?

Discussion Results:

      • Lot going on into enhancing system resilience, forecasting, and planning hourly studies but now generation is coming from different sources and more unknowns now and to study reliability. How to estimate the life cycle of different resources and how it will impact the system. IBRs fault current is low and creates an issue as protection doesn’t work properly.
      • More unknowns in system now
      • Aggressive target to achieve net-zero emission generation
      • System resilience and planning challenges
      • Duke has aggressive target by 2050 to achieve net-zero emissions all energy by clean sources, large solar integration but still less as compared to the load. Which clean resource we should add to system to achieve the clean energy goal? We should not underestimate conventional resources and keep all options on table. The good things (inertia, VAR support) of conventional generators must be fully utilized with low carbon goals.
      • PV inverters are bottleneck in operations, they fail more often than PV panel themselves, their reliability studies is important, their reliability match with conventional generation is hard.
      • Microgrids can be used to improve grid resilience. Optimally allocate critical loads during grid unavailability. What is role of distributed storage in improving grid resiliency, use of behind the meter resources to increase resiliency of system. How to compensate customers for their support to the grid. Forecasting the net demand can help in generation dispatch.
      • What type of energy storage systems can be used to achieve better reliability? Li-ion most common but many other prototypes being tested across the world, for instance, thermal energy storage is a good option. Use of marine energy sources like wave energy.
      • Ramp rates during different times of day is a challenge, modeling of EVs, HPC vs. distributed computing, decentralized control to size and locate batteries, centralized control for dispatch, distributed generation for grid-servicing.
      • Storage location is important, existing protection scheme should be made to work with inverter-based resources, HIL studies can be helpful.
      • Behind the meter generation is increasing. Storage is increasing massively distributed across the system. Hydro also being used as energy storage and can be used to integrate renewables. Distributed CHPs and Batteries can be used for frequency regulation, but their life cycle is important. How to operate a battery in operational stream.
      • New tools for planning and operation, variable speed CHPs also utilize inverters and protection becomes challenging, more use cases are required as one strategy will no more apply to all scenarios, how to evaluate protection scenarios, HIL is an option, all student projects should have a carbon-zero goal.
      • Use of behind the meter resources
      • Customer compensation strategy
      • Benefits should be utilized by generation
      • West and northern Texas have high wind penetration, but abundant production is a problem. How to reach customer who is far away from generation. Natural gas lines are at many locations and should be used to serve them. Utilize existing infrastructure.


Group 5 – Power Utilization and Energy Efficiency

Discussion Objectives: To determine potential research topics for this theme for the 2022 Research solicitation.

Potential Research Topics:

      • Identify the potential of Behind the Meter resources to participate in utility services
      • Investigate and address technical barriers in BTM resource utilization and participation in system level goals
      • Holistic framework for energy efficiency – potential to improve energy efficiency in HVAC
      • Pilot connected communities’ projects (GA, AL – in SEEM territory)
      • Aggregators and connected communities to provide DR into the market
      • Characteristics needed to achieve economic benefit in SEEM, avoid curtailment of excess sources. Leverage forecasting
      • Investigate specific scenarios of operation in the SEEM paradigm

Discussion Results:

      • Demand Response (DR)
      • Temperature-controlled loads offer high potential in terms of flexibility and ease in controllability
      • Critical peak DR program – with participating thermostat
      • Opportunities arising from FERC order 2222
      • Virtual connected communities as aggregators – participation in SEEM – providing services for the utility
      • “Load follows generation” paradigm → what would that look like?


Steven Whisenant closed the Fall General Meeting with an update on the 2022 Research Solicitation.

The next meeting will be hosted by Clemson University and is scheduled for March 23rd-24th, 2022.

CLOSED MEETING – IAB Members Meeting – Open to all attendees of companies that are Industry Members of CAPER.

Presentations and Project Updates can be found by visiting www.caper-usa.com in the Members Only section of the website.



Speaker Biographies

CAPER | caper-usa.com | Contact: Shannon Jenkins / CAPER Administrator