New Smart Electric Power Alliance report demystifies Transactive Energy | SEPA Skip to content

New Smart Electric Power Alliance report demystifies Transactive Energy

Transactive Energy: Real World Applications for an Evolving Grid, features four case studies

WASHINGTON, D.C. — In alignment with the Smart Electric Power Alliance’s (SEPA) newly announced Utility Business Models pathway, today the educational non-profit released its latest report, Transactive Energy: Real-World Applications for an Evolving Grid.

As the grid evolves, the growth of distributed energy resources (DERs) — particularly behind the meter and out of visibility of the utility — poses challenges to the planning, operation, and oversight of the grid. Transactive energy systems, comprised of coordinated participants that use automation tools to communicate and exchange energy based on value and grid constraints, offer a potential approach forward. This new report breaks down the definition of transactive energy and includes four real-world case studies from utilities:

  • Distribution System Platform (DSP) Demonstration in Buffalo, New York
  • Microgrid Project in Isle au Haut, Maine
  • Olympic Peninsula Demonstration Project in Olympic Peninsula, Washington
  • Retail Automated Transactive Energy System (RATES) Pilot in Thousand Oaks, California

The included case studies show that transactive energy systems can employ a wide range of technologies including, but not limited to, solar, energy storage, demand response, smart meters, and distributed ledger technologies. Pilots today range from one-way automated price signals incentivizing behavior to two-way pricing and are demonstrating real-world applications for the grid.

“Today, many people view transactive energy as just a buzzword, but the reality is — there are successful projects already in place. In an increasingly distributed energy environment, utilities have a role in facilitating micro-transactions. Regulatory and infrastructure developments are needed to scale these systems, but it’s no longer just a hypothetical,” said Medha Surampudy, author and Senior Research Associate at SEPA.

“Electric utilities and regulators are at a redefining point of the relationship between energy providers and customers. Just as Napster changed the music industry, transactive energy has the potential to transform energy use at the edge of the grid,” said Mark Knight, co-author of the report, and an industry adviser at Burns & McDonnell.

Transactive Energy: Real-World Applications for an Evolving Grid, comes shortly after SEPA’s announcement of its four pathways, aimed at facilitating the transition to a carbon-free future: Grid Integration, Utility Business Models, Regulatory Innovation, and Transportation Electrification.

To download the complete report, Transactive Energy: Real-World Applications for an Evolving Grid, click here.

To find out more information about SEPA’s four pathways, click here.

Media contact: Jordan Nachbar [email protected]

About SEPA

The Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) is an educational nonprofit working to facilitate the electric power industry’s smart transition to a clean and modern energy future through education, research, standards and collaboration. SEPA offers a range of research initiatives and resources, as well as conferences, educational events, advisory services, and professional networking opportunities. SEPA is founder and co-sponsor of Solar Power International (now North American Smart Energy Week) and winner of the Keystone Policy Center’s 2016 Leadership in Energy Award. For more information, visit

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About Burns & McDonnell

Burns & McDonnell is a family of companies made up of more than 7,000 engineers, architects, construction professionals, scientists, consultants and entrepreneurs with offices across the country and throughout the world. We strive to create amazing success for our clients and amazing careers for our employee-owners. Burns & McDonnell is 100 percent employee-owned and is proud to be on Fortune’s 2019 list of 100 Best Companies to Work For.