Dispatcho User Documentation
Welcome to the Dispatcho User Documentation. This guide is designed for people who will use Dispatcho on a day-to-day basis. We have tried to include many short example videos that show each feature being used, and this information is organized in a way to try and make it easy for people to quickly find answers to their questions.
- Allowable Dispatch Variance
- Anomalies and Exceptions
- Adding, Editing and Deleting Dispatches
- Dispatch Details
- Adding Historical Dispatch Data
Dispatches and Allowable Dispatch Variance
We visually represent the allowable dispatch variance of a dispatch as a colored background area. By default, dispatch rules are configured based on the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) ISO Rules (e.g. Section 203.4: Delivery Requirements for Energy; 205.2 Issuing Dispatches and directives for Operating Reserve). Contact Dispatcho support if you want a different scheme for your assets.
When the TNG of an asset moves outside of the Allowable Dispatch Variance, Dispatcho will immediately send push notifications to all the devices that are watching the asset.
If the 10-minute average TNG of an asset is outside of the allowable dispatch variance then Dispatcho will flag that event as an exception.
Below we have a diagram of the allowable dispatch variance illustrated during both a steady state and ramping.
|Start Time||The point in time when dispatch is directed to begin.|
|Ramp Time||The Ramp Time is the generation delta (in MW) from the previous dispatch to the new dispatch divided by the declared ramp rate of the asset. For example, if a power plant was going from a 50 MW dispatch to a 150 MW dispatch, and the ramp rate was 5 MW/min, then the ramp time would be 20 minutes.|
|Fast Ramp||The fastest ramp permitted by the AESO rules is the ramp time - 40% (or 5 minutes, whichever is greater), with the ramp beginning immediately at the Start Time.|
|Slow Ramp||The slowest ramp permitted by the AESO rules is the ramp time + 40% (or 5 minutes, whichever is greater), with the ramp beginning the Grace Period (10 minutes) after the Start Time.|
|Grace Period||The AESO permits a 10 minute grace period after the start of the dispatch before the slow ramp must begin.|
|Target MW||The target MW of a dispatch. This can be a single number, or a range (e.g. 100-150 MW).|
|Tolerance||The range outside of the target MW where the generating asset remains in compliance of the dispatch. For example, with a tolerance of 5 MW, if a dispatch is for 100 MW, the asset would be in compliance when generating between 95-105 MW.|
Anomalies and Exceptions
An anomaly is a single reading where the TNG is outside of the allowable dispatch variance. Visually, this is shown by the TNG line moving outside of the allowable dispatch area.
An exception is defined as a 10-minute period where the average generation is outside of the average allowable dispatch variance.
Exceptions are flagged in charts, with the label in a circle. Usually the number of consecutive 10 minute exceptions are displayed in the circle.
The dispatch table will show the count of the number of exceptions that happened between the start and finish of that dispatch.
Adding, Editing and Deleting Dispatches
Dispatches can either be added, edited, or deleted using a automated batch job, or it can be done manually using the user interface.
To edit the data manually you first need to navigate to an asset and click on the Edit button. Only the dispatches that intersect with the time range selected in the chart are displayed. If you don't see a dispatch that you're interested in, then adjust the chart zoom to include the time period of interest. Note: only Read/Write or Owner roles are able to change dispatch data.
Below the asset generation chart, you will see a editable table that behaves similar manner to a spreadsheet. Click on a cell you want to edit, and make the desired changes. If you wish to delete a row, click on the remove_circle_outline icon on the left-hand side of the dispatch row.
When you’ve finished adding/modifying/deleting dispatch rows, click the Save button, and the allowable dispatch area in the chart will immediately be updated.
If you wish to have your dispatches automatically imported from a external system such as ADaMS, please contact Dispatcho support, and we can help you automate this process.
To access the details of a dispatch, including ancillary services fields, you need to go to Edit mode for your organization's asset, click on +Details. The columns are laid out in a order similar to that in the AESO ADaMS tool, which can allow for copy/paste opportunities.
The following dispatch fields are available; in all cases, the unit is MW:
- AC - Available Capability
- Energy - The base energy for the dispatch
- DDS - Dispatch Down Service
- SR Disp - Spinning Reserve Dispatched
- SR Dir - Spinning Reserve Directive
- SUP Disp - Supplementary Reserve Dispatched
- SUP Dir - Supplementary Reserve Directive
- TMR - Transmission Must Run
- RR - Regulating Reserve
The values Energy, SR Dir, SUP Dir, TMR and RR are used to compute the Target MW, minimum and maximum. For example, if a dispatch has an Energy of 150 and a Regulating Reserve of 75, then the Target MW will be 150-225.
SR Disp and SUP Disp are used to compute the dispatched contingency reserve (DCR).
The TNG + DCR shouldn't ever exceed the Available Capability (AC).
Each dispatch has some metadata associated with it that tells Dispatcho how to apply the dispatch when comparing it to the TNG values. Typically users will not need to see this information, but it's available for inspection by clicking on the +Metadata button.
The following metadata fields are available:
- Ramp Rate - Ramp Rate (in MW/min) for this particular dispatch. This value can be set per-dispatch if required, but the default is set in the Organization's Asset Settings.
- Tolerance - Tolerance (in MW) for this dispatch. The default is set in the Organization's Asset Settings page.
- Grace - Grace period (in minutes) before the slow ramp must begin. Defaults to 10 minutes.
- Skew % - The fast ramp and slow ramp skews by ±40% (default) or the Skew Mins (whichever is greater).
- Skew Mins - used in the skew calculation described in Skew %. Defaults to 5 minutes.
Please reference the Dispatches and Allowable Dispatch Variance chart for more context.
Adding Historical Dispatch Data
If you have a spreadsheet, it is very easy to add historical dispatch data to Dispatcho. It's just a matter of formatting the dates correctly.
Below is a video that shows the different ways to add historical dispatch data.
There are six preset ranges available: 1 hour, 8 hours, 24 hours, 7 days, 30 days and All.
Use these to quickly set an exact time range in Dispatcho. Having an exact time range makes it easy to quickly measure the total amount of power produced in a time range and compare it with the same size of time range in the past.
This control provides a view of all the available history for an asset in Dispatcho. You can:
- See a zoomed-out view of all the data available.
- Scroll back in time to previous time ranges and investigate visible peaks/valleys in generation.
- Resize the viewable range of the main part of the chart by dragging the handles.
Drill Down and Back Up
The easiest way to zoom in to a particular part of the chart (and see more detail) is clicking and dragging the left mouse button over the range of the chart that you're interested in. It's easy to go back to your previous zoom level by clicking on the arrow_upward icon in the chart toolbar.
Navigate to Exceptions
One of the primary features of Dispatcho is counting the number of generation exceptions.
In the table of dispatches below the primary chart, we see the number of exceptions that occurred during that dispatch. If there are no exceptions, instead of 0, the Exception column will be blank. If you click on the exception count, then that will cause the chart to go to a time range that includes where that dispatch begins and ends.
Jump to Live
When the chart view doesn't include the current time, then the toolbar icon that takes you to the live view will become active. When it is active and can be clicked on, it is white in color. Clicking on the "go live" toolbar icon will move your view to include the most recent data, and it will change the zoom level to 8 hours.
It's common to want to be able to see the corresponding line in the dispatch table for the range you’re looking at in the chart. Or what dispatch you're editing in the table is on the chart. If you click on the chart during a time range where a dispatch exists, you will see the dispatch selected in the table.
When in Edit mode, selecting a dispatch in the table will highlight the corresponding range in the chart.
Annotations are notes about a specific asset at a specific point in time. They are associated with the generation history of the asset and they can be created by any organization member with a role of Annotator, Read/Write, or Owner.
To create an annotation, click on the outlined_flag icon and then click on the point in time on the chart when you want the annotation to be created.
You can provide a code (up to 3 characters), which can be anything. It is up to each organization to standardize what to use for this, but it could be something as simple as the initials of the person who is adding the annotation, or it could be involving a comprehensive "event code" system that categorizes the kind of event that is being annotated.
Next, provide up to 140 characters of descriptive text.
Annotations are represented on the chart as a square "flag" displaying the code. Mouse-over, click, or tap on the flag to see the descriptive text. Annotations also show up on printed reports, with the annotation code and description showing up on the table below the chart.
Users can belong to one or more organization. Organizations are the primary subscription unit in Dispatcho. They contain:
- Configuration Settings
Each organization is a security silo. If you give someone Owner access in one organization, it doesn't affect their permissions in any other organizations. Dispatches that are created in one organization can't be seen in any other organization.
Private assets that have been created in one organization cannot be seen by other organizations.
Create an Organization
You can create a new organization by clicking the "Create New Organization" button on the user home page.
To create a new organization, you must provide a "URL Name" that isn’t already taken, and you must select at least one public asset.
Once your organization has been created, you can add members to your organization and set their security. You can change the properties of the organization, including which assets you want to track. You can also adjust the default tolerance and ramp rates of selected assets.
Add, Edit or Remove Members
Click on the "Members" link at the top of the Organization home page. From there, you modify the table of users. Create new users by adding their name, their email, and setting their privilege level. After you’re done making changes, click the "Save" button.
When you add new users to the system, a invitation email will be sent to the email address that you provided for that person. When they click on the link in the email and create an account, they will be asked to join your organization.
There are three different privilege levels in organizations: Owner, Read/Write, Read Only.
Read Only members can view assets, dispatches, anomalies, and exceptions; run reports; and opt-in to receive push notifications.
Annotator members can add or remove annotations.
Read/Write members can modify dispatch records.
Owner permissions grant full control of the organization. Most members should not need to have the Owner-level permissions.
|View Asset & Dispatches||check_box||check_box||check_box||check_box|
|View Annotations & Exceptions||check_box||check_box||check_box||check_box|
|Receive Push Notifications||check_box||check_box||check_box||check_box|
|Modify Dispatch Records||check_box_outline_blank||check_box_outline_blank||check_box||check_box|
|Add/Remove Assets in Organization||check_box_outline_blank||check_box_outline_blank||check_box_outline_blank||check_box|
|Change Per-Asset Default Settings||check_box_outline_blank||check_box_outline_blank||check_box_outline_blank||check_box|
|Change Notification Trigger/Cooldown Settings||check_box_outline_blank||check_box_outline_blank||check_box_outline_blank||check_box|
Organizations can set the current Tolerance and Ramp Rate values for their assets that are applied to new Dispatches on the Asset Settings page, accessible from the Organization Dashboard.
In Dispatcho, many values like the Tolerance and Ramp Rate for an asset are effective-dated. This is because each dispatch records the Tolerance and Ramp Rate that is used for duration of time that dispatch is in effect. This allows you to change any effective dated values for the future to suite future needs (e.g. the AESO could make rule changes) without having the new rules impact historical data.
Users that keep a browser window open to monitor assets can be alerted to events with sounds (audible alarms). Which sounds are configurable on a per-organization basis.
An organization's alert sounds can be configured by anyone who has the Owner role. You can do so by clicking the Configure Organization at the top of the organization's Home page.
- Dispatch Anomaly: Played when a TNG reading for an asset falls outside of the allowable dispatch variance.
- OR Obligation > AC: Played when the TNG + DCR > AC.
- Dispatch Starting: Played at the effective start time of a dispatch.
- New Dispatch: Played when Dispatcho becomes aware of a new dispatch starting in the future.
To hear these sounds, the user needs to have a browser open to the Organization Home page or on a particular Asset page.
NOTE: These sounds don't impact the sound that users hear when receiving push notifications. Those sounds are determined by your browser/OS/device.
Tolerance Overrides and Grace Period Modifiers
Sometimes you may want to be forewarned before an asset you're monitoring reaches the edge of the tolerance range that was specified by the AESO. To set tighter dispatch variance ranges, you can use tolerance overrides and grace modifiers.
These settings can be found by clicking on the Overrides link at the top of your organization dashboard.
This overrides the default tolerance for an asset. The typical use case would be to set a lower number than the default.
Dispatcho supports asymmetric tolerance overrides. For example, if you want to describe a tolerance range of 3 MW above the dispatch target and 7 MW below the target, set your tolerance override as +3/-7.
Grace modifiers can be used to add or subtract minutes from the grace period in the metadata of each dispatch.
For example: set an asset's grace modifier to -4, then all of the dispatches that have a grace period of 10 minutes will have their ramping variance calculated as though the grace period is only 6 minutes.
Note: When using a tolerance override or grace modifier, the color of the Allowable Dispatch Variance range will change from green to blue.
Organizational Push Notification Settings
From the Configure Organization screen, you will see two fields related to Push Notification alerts: Anomaly Count Trigger and Cooldown (minutes).
Anomaly Count Trigger: how many anomalies are required inside of the Cooldown before push notifications are sent to all the devices that are watching an asset?
Cooldown: how long it takes to reset after the first anomaly is encountered.
The first anomaly encountered will begin a cooldown window and initialize a Anomaly Count at 1. When the Anomaly Count Trigger is reached, a push notification is sent.
If Anomaly Count Trigger = 1, then a push notification will be sent immediately on the first anomaly. No additional notifications will be sent until the cooldown resets.
If Anomaly Count Trigger = 2, Dispatcho will only send push notifications when a second anomaly occurs during the cooldown window.
Note: Cooldowns are on a per-asset basis. If Asset A is on cooldown, it doesn't affect Asset B.
These settings can only be changed by organization members who have the "Owner" privilege level, and they’re set on a per-organization basis and affect all members of the organization.
Dispatcho collects and organizes power generation data in a fast and capable data repository. We created tools to get insights from this data for both real time and historical analysis.
Grid Analytics is an analysis tool to help you answer the question "What changed on the Alberta electric grid?"
Clicking on the time series charts will select a point in time, and the map will display a group of circles that are scaled to the TNG that each asset at that geographical location is located. Clicking on individual assets on the map (colored by the generation category) will show you the TNG chart of that asset in the Selected Assets chart. Clicking on a "stack" of assets (whose circles are geographically overlapping) will show all the assets that intersect with your click on the Selected Assets chart.
You can show and hide different asset categories by clicking the category name in the legend below the Total Net Generation stacked area chart.
Drag-selecting on the time series charts will switch the analytics to "delta mode", comparing the state of the grid at the beginning of the selection range to the end of the selection range. When in delta mode, the asset circles are now sized and color coded based on their change in TNG between the beginning of the selection range to the end of the selection range.
In delta mode, the top increases and decreases are enumerated so you can see what assets made the biggest moves during the selected time period.
Historical Data is available, not just the past 24 hours. By clicking the time range specified in the title for the top-left chart, you will be presented with a "Date Picker" chart. The Date Picker chart shows the System Marginal Price for the Alberta grid to help indicate which days may be more interesting than others. Select the day you're interested in by clicking directly on the chart.
Group charts allow you to select an arbitrary set of assets and display them together as multiple series in a single chart.
Group Chart URLs contain all the information needed to display the chart. This provides the same quality of life benefits that you get with most charts in Dispatcho. It's easy to bookmark and share URLs - the recipient will see everything that you see.
Specifically, Group Chart URLs contain:
- A list of asset codes in the chart.
- A chart title.
- The time range that you're viewing (if applicable, the default is the most recent data).
For example, the URL for the chart used in the demo video (for assets AFG1, TAB1, and APS1) is:
The navigator (the small line chart at the bottom) shows the summary data for the first asset in the list of assets specified. This may impact which asset you want first in the list.
The chart user interface works just like other Dispatcho charts, so many of the navigation features in the Using Charts section of this document are applicable here.
Group Charts do not show dispatches for assets. We elected to not add dispatches to Group Charts because the charts became far too cluttered too quickly.
Omni-Charts allow you a great deal of flexibility in charting.
Omni-Charts are similar to Group Charts in that the URL has all the necessary information to display the chart, allowing you to conveniently distribute a link to the chart.
Assets data series are the TNG of specific power generation assets, in megawatts.
Categories adds the sum of TNG or DCR of given the AESO's categories of asset, in megawatts.
The available capability of AESO asset categories, in megawatts.
Capacity Factor of Available Capability
Capacity factor is the percentage of the available generation of a given asset category.
The calculation: Capacity Factor = (TNG + DCR) / AC.
Other Data Sources
This is a grab bag of other things you can graph. Among the less-obvious things:
- Surplus Actual refers to Dispatcho's surplus calculation
- DCR Percentage of AIL refers to the result of dividing DCR by AIL to see what safety margin the AESO is targeting
Supply Surplus & Price
The Supply Surplus & Price panel in Grid Analytics Pro shows the real-time relationship between supply adequacy and the actual and forecast energy price. It is fed by multiple data sources and is continuously updated.
This can be used as a forecasting tool because it allows the user to clearly see what expect in the near future based on the forecast supply adequacy based on the price adequacy in the recent past. The relative price volatility at different surplus levels allows the user to infer details about important parts of the merit order.
The Surplus Actual series is calculated as follows:
- Available Capability of non-wind and non-solar assets
- Interchange net import
- TNG of wind assets
- TNG of solar assets
- Alberta Internal Load
- Dispatched Contingency Reserve
- Surplus Actual
The Surplus Forecast series is calculated as follows:
- Available Capability of non-wind and non-solar assets
- Interchange import capability/gross offer forecast
- Wind generation forecast
- Solar generation forecast
- Alberta Internal Load forecast
- Dispatched Contingency Reserve forecast
- Surplus Forecast
The Price Volatility series considers this data for each hour:
- All forecasts from two hours prior until the hour begins
- The SMP updates during the hour
- The final pool price calculated once the hour completes
Each of these is summarized in a bar in the candlestick chart, where the box shows the difference between the initial and final data points, while the high and low shadows show the extent of the price variation.
A red bar indicates a final price lower than initially forecasted.
A green bar indicates a final price higher than initially forecasted.
The Pool Price series shows:
- Actual pool price (if it's available)
- Forecast using SMP data (if SMP data for the hour is available)
- AESO most recent pool price forecast for the hour
Forecasts are shown with a dotted line.
The SMP series shows the system marginal price data.
The Event Feed panel in Grid Analytics Pro displays a news feed of asset activity and can send notifications to your device if anything changes. There are four different events that we track, and you can choose which events for which assets you're interested in. Right below the save button, you can see how many notifications your device would have received had it been subscribed with these settings for the past week.
Ramp Up, Ramp Down
If an asset's generation changes within the normal range of its historical ramp rate, and does so in a consistent direction for 4 minutes, this will be considered a ramp up or down.
A new steady state event will be sent for an asset when:
- A new generation level is maintained within a relatively tight tolerance band for at least 15 minutes.
- The new steady state is at least 15% different from the last recorded steady state. For example, 15% of a 200MW asset would be 30MW.
A trip event is when an asset's generation drops rapidly over a short period of time. A trip event only registers if the drop is of a significant portion of the asset's MC.