Distribution Feeder-Scale Fast Frequency Response via Optimal Coordination of Net-Load Resources - Part I: Solution Design

Blake Lundstrom, Sourav Patel, Murti V. Salapaka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


This article is the first of a two-part series that develops and experimentally demonstrates a first-of-its-kind hierarchical control solution for optimally dispatching thousands of deferrable loads and distributed energy resources (DERs) across a distribution feeder to provide fast frequency response (FFR) within 500 ms to the bulk power system. This approach rapidly coordinates resources online after a frequency event occurs, allowing fast-changing, behind-the-meter (BTM) resources to be incorporated and aggregate FFR power set points to be achieved more quickly and accurately than existing approaches. We also present a solution for determining the optimal amount of headroom to operate solar inverters with to minimize opportunity cost while ensuring the FFR response viability of a building with the inverter and deferrable loads. In Part I, we develop practical algorithms for fast, cost-based optimal dispatch at multiple aggregation scales (single building, multiple buildings, and full distribution feeder), establish their optimality, and demonstrate via simulation that they are faster than state-of-the-art, coordinated frequency response approaches. In Part II, the entire platform is implemented and experimentally verified using a unique power hardware-in-the-loop demonstration, including more than 100 powered loads and DERs connected to a real-world distribution network model and over 10,000 net-load resources dispatched.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number9234642
Pages (from-to)1289-1302
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE Transactions on Smart Grid
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported in part by the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) under Grant DE-AR0000701. Paper no. TSG-00317-2020.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 IEEE.


  • Fast frequency response (FFR)
  • coordinated response
  • demand response
  • distributed energy resources (DER)
  • flexible load
  • frequency control
  • optimal dispatch


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