As tempting as it may be for utilities to ignore the growth of distributed energy resources (DER), they must plan for integration of this form of generation. To help power providers develop a strategy to accommodate increasing DER penetration, Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) has published a two-volume report, Beyond the Meter: Planning the Distributed Energy Future.
The utility industry is changing and many of the changes are being driven by consumers seeking new energy choices, technology advances leading to lower costs and better performance and new policies. Both utilities and their customers will have to work together to ensure grid reliability as distributed energy resource (DER) penetration increases. Engineering consultants Black and Veatch collaborated with SEPA to provide a new strategy to become a proactive distribution planning utility.
Volume I: Emerging electric utility distribution planning practices for distributed energy resources outlines why traditional distribution system planning framework does not meet the needs of today’s grid. Five investor-owned and public power utilities shared their drive, progress and challenges when planning and proactively integrating distributed energy resources within their distribution system. The report covers:
- Practical framework for distribution planning utilities
- Insight from sector leaders on challenges and successes
- Tools to better understand customer needs
Volume II: A case study of integrated DER planning by Sacramento Municipal Utility District details how SMUD used the findings of Volume I to forecast DER growth and plan for distribution challenges. Through the lens of SMUD, the report looks at the broader scenarios the electric utility industry can expect to encounter. The report covers:
- Results of the new utility planning strategies
- Risks and opportunities of new DER systems
- More on the new distribution system planning framework
Beyond the Meter is free to download for both SEPA members and non-members.
Source: Smart Electric Power Alliance, May 2017