TESS is an electric utility planning and operations platform that supports the design, deployment, and operation of a price-based transactive energy system that helps distribution utilities maintain efficient, resilient and financially sound operations in light of recent changes in the electricity industry. These changes include policy mandates for renewables, distributed energy resource integration and greenhouse gas emission reductions; increasingly variable supply from the bulk electric power system due to increased renewables; customer-driven demand for distributed energy resources; and lower energy sales or sales growth. TESS delivers a whole-business life-cycle approach to transactive energy services by providing an end-to-end framework that a majority of North American utilities can use to plan, finance, design, deploy, and operate a transactive energy system that helps meet these challenges.
The TESS project demonstrates a platform for utilities to address the principal phases of adopting a transactive energy system: (1) program development, (2) resource deployment, and (3) system operations. During the development phase, a utility screens potential transactive energy technologies, obtains needed financing for themselves and their customers, and completes the engineering design activities needed to begin deployment. During the deployment phase, the utility reaches out to potential customers, provisions their systems with needed data, and performs the installation of hardware and software systems needed to bootstrap the transactive energy system. Finally, when operations begin, the utility dispatches resources to manage constraints and deploy additional assets when and where needed, works with wholesale markets or enters into long-term contracts to generate additional revenue from the flexibility of the newly deployed resources, and periodically performs settlements to pay customers their share of the revenue generated.