ORIGINAL REPORTING: A Nation Powered By Distributed Energy Resources (DER)
A grid of DERs: DOE program aims for 100% solar penetration on the distribution system; The new SunShot program will dole out $25M to solutions aimed at integrating truly unprecedented amounts of distributed generation
Herman K. Trabish, May 24, 2016 (Utility Dive)
Editor’s note: The momentum behind DER continues to build.
The U.S. had 24 GW of solar and 75 GW of wind at the end of 2015. Both are growing faster than ever. The EIA’s just-released Annual Energy Outlook 2016, which typically underestimates renewables, forecasts 246 GW of new solar and 149 GW of new wind by 2040. Cost cuts driven by the Department of Energy (DOE) SunShot Initiative drive to lower the cost of solar electricity to $0.06/kWh without incentives by 2020 has supported growth. Its target would make solar cost-competitive with conventional generation and grow it from today’s 1% of the power mix to about 14% by 2030 and 27% by 2050. A growing portion is expected to come from distributed energy resources (DERs) but they can cause big problems for utilities and grid operators alike so the DOE just opened a competitive funding opportunity for projects that enable utilities to handle 100% penetration of rooftop solar at peak hours.
Through the Enabling Extreme Real-Time Grid Integration of Solar Energy (ENERGISE) program, ten to fifteen awards totaling $25 million will go to field-demonstrated solutions that make it possible to manage distributed solar penetrations of 50% of distribution peak load or higher. Those will receive awards between $500,000 and $4 million. A second round of awards from $500,000 to $2 million will go to large-scale simulated solutions that demonstrate how to manage 100% peak solar penetration on the distribution grid by 2030. DOE is asking for software and hardware solutions to enable dynamic, automated, and cost-effective management of the distribution system and are highly scalable, data-driven, and capable of real-time system operation and planning. They must also incorporate sensor, communications, and data analytics technologies that will allow grid operator to see, forecast, and optimize DERs performance… click here for more