ORIGINAL REPORTING: How To Plan For Distributed Resources
SMUD's holistic DER planning process could set new standard for utilities; Even solar advocates are praising the distributed resource planning done by Sacramento's municipal utility
Herman K. Trabish, June 16, 2017 (Utility Dive)
Editor’s note: CPR and SMUD have continued the cutting-edge work in DER integration described here and just released new work on the accurate forecasting of DER penetrations.
Britain ruled the world on its army’s adage that “proper planning prevents poor performance.” California’s Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) is taking that idea to its distribution system. A recent SMUD estimate found customers and third-party developers spend from $150 million to $200 million annually on distributed energy resources (DERs) in its territory, which is more than the utility is investing in utility-scale renewables to meet the state’s 50% renewables by 2030 mandate. As DERs proliferate, SMUD, the sixth-largest municipal utility in the nation, is now testing new planning methods to maintain reliability and control costs, incorporating five steps laid out in a 2016 white paper from the Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) and consultancy Black & Veatch.
In a follow-up study, SEPA and B&V summarized what SMUD gained from integrated DER planning, which includes combined heat and power, distributed photovoltaic solar, energy efficiency, behind-the-meter energy storage and electric vehicles. Seeing the interactive effects of the various DER and what the net effects were allowed SMUD a more holistic view that led to a planning procedure so comprehensive that even solar advocates are taking notice, arguing the process could provide lessons for utilities nationwide… click here for more