IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - March/April 2017 - 32

performance data provided by the utilities. OpenDSS is a
power flow simulator that constructs a circuit portrayal by
identifying all its important physical elements (transformers, cables, and control devices) and specifying how they
interact with one another when energized to serve highly
variable loads. The close physical representation provides a
platform for investigating how the system performs as configured, how it reacts to changes like interconnected DERs,
and how it may produce counterflows of power. This provided a base case to investigate two simulated scenarios representing different future states of the areas under study. The
tools employ dynamic and stochastic simulation techniques
to establish load flows in a feeder under current conditions
(for example, no DERs) and then also quantify the impacts
of adding DERs in any amount to any part of the feeder for
a range of DER interconnection scenarios.
The primary scenario investigated envisions DERs as a
means for meeting load growth requirements, thereby avoiding or deferring the traditional utility investments. A tenyear planning horizon (2016-2025) defines the system as it
is today and the load growth that must be accommodated by
the traditional investments.
This scenario has two parts. The base case conducts simulations to identify the timing and location of system violations (overloads, voltage, and protection) that might result
from load growth and specifies how those violations would
be resolved using established utility planning processes (by
adding utility assets such as transformers or cable). This provides a basis for comparing DERs as an alternative. DERs
were then added systematically to individual loads or load

aggregations (nodes) to resolve the violations. For the study,
the amount of DERs assigned to a node was limited to its
peak demand. Loads were selected in descending order of
their contribution to eliminating the violation, with the goal
of minimizing the amount of DERs deployed and hence the
cost. Repeating this for all violations over the study period
provided a consolidated and consistent way to compare the
cost of the DER alternative to employing conventional asset
upgrades or replacements.
These analytical outputs provided inputs to the benefit-cost
analysis (BCA) framework (Figure 5) developed by EPRI and
others. The framework was aligned with the protocols established in New York and California to categorize benefits and
costs associated with DER impacts. Doing so imposes consistency in how impacts are categorized while being in tune
with local market, regulatory, and legislative circumstances
that determine how impacts are monetized.

DER Portfolios

To replace distribution assets effectively, nonwires alternatives must achieve equivalent characteristics of availability,
dependability, and durability. Thus, a portfolio of DERs,
rather than a single resource, was assembled with an eye
toward supply diversity (performance availability, reliability when needed, and durability over time). The violations
that the simulations reveal are associated with the hour(s)
of the distribution system peak load, a key determinant of
distribution design. Different types of DERs reduce the circuit's peak hourly demand in different amounts, based on
their power output (or avoidance) coincidence. In addition,
DER measures are subject to factors beyond the control of the utility, such as customer behavior that
Power System
results in varying load patterns,
Criteria
the response of DERs to various
incentives, the ability to provide
granular control signals at a circuit
Power
Reliability/
Thermal
Protection
Quality/Voltage
Safety
level, technology changes, and
what DER customers are willing
to have installed on their premises.
Relay
Substation
Sudden (Fast)
Unintentional
Resource diversity is essential
Reduction of
Transformer
Voltage Change
Islanding
Reach
because of the uncertainty about
when DERs will be required to
provide essential distribution serPrimary
Steady-State
Sympathetic
Operational
vices and the degree of their availConductor
Voltage
Tripping
Flexibility
ability when these services are
needed the most. The implications
Voltage
Service
Element Fault
of diversity can be investigated
Regulator
Transformer
Current
initially by evaluating a DER portImpact
folio to develop an understanding
of how diversity affects the sysLoad Tap
Reverse
Secondary
Changer
Power Flow
tem and the consequential costs
Conductor
Impact
(Backfeed)
and benefits. (See "The Need for
a DER Portfolio.") DERs can include a broad range technology,
figure 4. The power system criteria for distribution impact studies.

32

ieee power & energy magazine

march/april 2017



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - March/April 2017

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IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - March/April 2017 - Cover3
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