State of Common Grid Services Definitions

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This document is prepared as part of the Department of Energy’s Grid Modernization Laboratory Consortium (GMLC) 2.5.2 project, whose goal is to develop and socialize a common set of grid service definitions relevant to grid-related interactions with distributed energy resources (DER: responsive generation, storage, and loads), and to advance the concept and requirements of the Energy Services Interface (ESI) to the point of launching related interface standards and guides that can be implemented in communication protocols and business process definitions. The notion of “grid services” is integral to the definition of an ESI because a key principle of the ESI is that it permits coordination between grid operators and DER facilities in a way that is service-oriented, with an understanding of performance expectations.


This document reviews the current state of grid service definitions, including those actively used in the market today as well as new services that have been proposed for future implementation. The document describes grid services used in transmission as well as distribution systems. In defining grid services, this document also distinguishes between two fundamental concepts: an “operational objective” and a “grid service,” which describes a generator’s or customer’s expected physical performance in delivering power to or consuming power from the grid.

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