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NIST Transactive Energy Modeling and Simulation Challenge for the Smart Grid

The evolving smart grid, with increased use of renewable energy generation and distributed energy management technologies, offers the potential for significant efficiency improvements through market-based transactive exchanges between energy producers and energy consumers. To understand this potential and support technology developers and policy makers, the smart grid community will require simulation tools and platforms that can be used to explore the benefits and impacts of alternative ways to create and operate transactive energy systems.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Gridwise Architecture Council has published a Transactive Energy Framework that defines transactive energy (TE) broadly as, “a system of economic and control mechanisms that allows the dynamic balance of supply and demand across the entire electrical infrastructure using value as a key operational parameter.” The Transactive Energy Modeling and Simulation Challenge for the Smart Grid (TE Challenge) brings researchers and companies with simulation tools together with other grid stakeholders to demonstrate modeling and simulation platforms while applying TE approaches to real grid problems.

NIST is working in coordination with the DOE to explore the potential of TE to improve the safety, efficiency, reliability, resiliency, and adaptability of the grid. The NIST TE Challenge Phase II aims to engage organizations with interests in TE to develop simulation-platform-agnostic common understandings and interoperable TE modeling approaches that will allow the broad community of electric grid and systems modelers to incorporate transactive elements into their own analyses. The TE Challenge is designed to facilitate the application of common TE principles that can be explored with integrity across diverse modeling simulation toolsets. Challenge participants will be asked to simulate at least one specified TE use case on a common grid topology to enable comparison of results.

The products of the Challenge will help industry better understand the capability, repeatability, and utility of simulation platforms that can be used to study the impact of TE approaches. The knowledge gained can create a path for real-world trial implementations.

Challenge Goals

The goals of the TE Challenge are: to identify and advance modeling and simulation tools and platforms that can support analysis of TE systems, to raise awareness of the potential benefits of TE, and to build a community that can work toward applying knowledge gained to TE demonstrations.  Phase I results include: definition of TE scenarios and reference grid components, development of a TE common platform component model for TE co-simulation, analysis of the TE regulatory environment, and analysis of common transactive services. Information about the Phase I teams and the work products produced by these teams are available on the Community page of the Collaboration Site.

Phase II builds on the groundwork from Phase I and has the following objectives:

  1. Perform TE simulations using collaboratively developed TE scenario that serves as a baseline for comparisons of simulation results.
  2. Develop simulation-platform-agnostic common understandings and interoperable TE modeling approaches that will allow the broad community to incorporate transactive elements into their own analyses.
  3. Build up the TE community and promote collaborations that can support efforts to advance TE implementations.
  4. Enhance communication by providing visibility for different co-simulation platforms and understanding of strengths for each.


TE Challenge Phase I

  • TE Challenge Preparatory Workshop (March 2015) was held to vet the concept with industry stakeholders and design the Challenge.
  • Website and Collaboration Site were launched online (July 2015). The Collaboration Site includes resources, team information, and links to JOIN the TE Challenge.
  • Kickoff Meeting for team formation (September 2015 at NIST) successfully launched the Challenge Phase I. Five initial teams were formed.
  • Midpoint Coordination and Team Building Meeting (December 2015) saw the addition of two more teams.
  • The May TE Challenge Summit was held as part of the May 2016 TE Systems Conference held in Portland, OR. The initial work products of the Phase I teams were presented. Meeting proceedings are available.
  • The TE Challenge Phase I Capstone event was held as a webinar (September 2015).
  • In Fall 2016, NIST held two outreach meetings: in San Jose, CA, and New York City, NY. The goal of these meetings was to interact with industry to understand new business models for DER integration.

TE Challenge Phase II

TE Challenge Collaboration Site

The TE Challenge Collaboration Site is where you can see who is participating in the Challenge, and which teams are established/forming, along with team goals. The site also provides resources for teams, including simulation tool references, links to external information, and output of ongoing projects.

A note on intellectual property rights (IPR): All information and results provided as part of the Challenge will be in the public domain. This does not preclude the use of proprietary techniques or tools to achieve the results. Team leaders will be asked to manage team IPR issues, and each team can decide for themselves how to handle contributions to the team.

Created May 15, 2015, Updated November 22, 2019