NewEnergyNews: ORIGINAL REPORTING: How to get the most out of grid modernization, in 5 simple steps

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    Founding Editor Herman K. Trabish

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    Wednesday, September 06, 2017

    ORIGINAL REPORTING: How to get the most out of grid modernization, in 5 simple steps

    How to get the most out of grid modernization, in 5 simple steps; A new paper offers guidelines for designing and evaluating expensive utility modernization proposals

    Herman K. Trabish, March 13, 2017 (Utility Dive)

    Editor’s note: Since this story ran, the momentum behind grid modernization has increased and debates about the most cost-effective ways to do it have heated up.

    Across the nation, public service commissions are opening grid modernization regulatory proceedings to investigate how best to upgrade the electric power grid to enhance its efficiency and integrate more clean energy technologies…Grid modernization initiatives and the utility proposals they generate typically get support from a variety of sector stakeholders, including distributed energy resources (DER) advocates and utilities, when the cost of upgrades can be put into the rate base. But in many states consumer advocates are pushing back, worried that the rush to upgrade the electric system is becoming an excuse for unnecessary spending…

    In California, The Utility Reform Network (TURN) is raising those concerns in Southern California Edison’s general rate case. The utility’s spend would include $2.1 billion for grid modernization, resulting in a residential rate increase of 2.7% in 2018, 4.2% in 2019, and 5.2% in 2020. TURN does not want the utility to compromise on safety or reliability but also argued that somenthing “shiny, new, and modern” isn’t necessarily cost-effective. This concern of “gold-plating the grid” is common among consumer advocates. Getting the Most from Grid Modernization is an effort to define the grid modernization metrics that will justify appropriate investments in power sector transformation… click here for more

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