ORIGINAL REPORTING: Turning Distributed Energy From Threat To Opportunity
How utilities can turn DERs from threat into opportunity; A new white paper offers utilities a five-step blueprint to managing distributed resources
Herman K. Trabish, March 16, 2016 (Utility Dive)
Editor’s note: Since this story ran, the divide between forward-thinking utilities that have begun planning for DER and those fighting them has widened.
As the proliferation of distributed energy resources gains momentum across the U.S., utility leaders will need to take a proactive approach to deal with their growth—or get left behind in the aftermath. One hurdle facing utility sector is the lack of consensus on how to seize the opportunity to harness and operate distributed energy resources. Now, a recently released white paper from the Smart Electric Power Association (SEPA) and consultant Black & Veatch has outlined five steps to help utility executives and professionals chart a course to prepare for the inevitable integration of DERs.
Forward-thinking utilities are beginning to understand that DER solutions for their customers can be solutions for their grids and that those who stick to the old way of doing things are doomed to suffer in the end.The first step in the distribution system planning process described in the white paper is a comprehensive system assessment from the customer’s point of view. The second step is to estimate the derived net load and DER profile’s impact on the transmission and distribution systems. The third step is applying the analysis to the utility’s bulk power generation and transmission system. The fourth step is a comprehensive assessment of the forecast distribution system plans on the utility’s financials, rates, and regulatory responsibilities. Finally, the white paper adds, the utility needs to develop a strategy and operationalize that strategy… click here for more