IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - March/April 2017 - 39

Modernizing the distribution system will also be critical
to sustain safety and reliability while minimizing overall system cost
and maximizing customer benefits from DERs.
DER impact assessments, greater visibility into the details of
the distribution system's physical operation, and better utilization of existing assets. Models allow utilities to better evaluate
solutions to accommodate DERs and perform value determinations. Variations in grid and DER conditions can be evaluated,
allowing distribution engineers to consider a wide range of
possible conditions by which DERs can interact with the grid.
To achieve this level of detail, however, a large amount of
validated data is required. Since not all utilities model their
entire distribution system, filling this data gap is a priority. As
the grid is modernized, available and valid data is expected to
become more prevalent. More aggregate and granular feeder
data through advanced sensors and automation systems can
support both validating models and making adjustments to
them. Distribution feeders will also change over time due to
new customer interconnections, planned upgrades, maintenance, and outage restoration. Maintaining system models
is an ongoing process. Guidance regarding distribution system modeling requirements, gaps, and prioritizations are covered extensively in a recent EPRI report.
Detailed engineering studies are a natural extension of these
new planning capabilities and capture the important nuances
in how DERs can be accommodated at the feeder level, providing insights and methods that can be applied system wide with
hundreds or even thousands of distribution feeders. Analytical approaches, like hosting capacity studies, can indicate the
amount of DERs that can be accommodated without necessitating upgrades to the grid.
The case studies suggest the need for the following:
✔✔ improved customer load models that capture the temporal and spatial variations of changing demands at
higher levels of granularity
✔✔ advanced forecasting methods capable of characterizing both customer inclination to adopt various DER
technologies as well as how they are likely to apply
such technologies
✔✔ planning methods and tools capable of capturing the
increasing levels of variability and uncertainty and
risk to the system.
What DER measures customers are willing to adopt and at
what cost may be the greatest source of uncertainty about
the net benefit associated with any DER scenario.
Modernizing the distribution system will also be critical to
sustain safety and reliability while minimizing overall system
cost and maximizing customer benefits from DERs. Beyond
the previously mentioned enhancements to the analytical
capabilities of distribution planners, additional areas of modmarch/april 2017

ernization that will facilitate DER integration and operationalize DER value include incorporating actual data from sensors
and tools for increased operator situational awareness, monitoring at the grid and customer levels, more accurate forecasting, expanded automation, and improved communications
with and control of DERs.
This study is a starting point to understanding the wide
range of situations under which DERs may be interconnected.
The results described are intended to highlight "what matters
most" in assessing the locational value of DERs. The numerical
findings provide examples for that purpose and also underscore
how systematic and detail-driven approaches can add critical
insights to such inquiries and lead to more robust practices,
programs, and policies.

For Further Reading
"Time and locational value of DER: Methods and applications," EPRI, Palo Alto, CA, Rep. 3002008410, 2016.
"Defining a roadmap for successful implementation of a
hosting capacity method for New York State," EPRI, Palo
Alto, CA, Rep. 3002008848, 2016.
"The integrated grid: A benefit-cost framework," EPRI,
Palo Alto, CA, Rep. 3002004878, 2015.
"Distribution feeder hosting capacity: What matters
most in planning for DER?" EPRI, Palo Alto, CA, Rep.
3002004777, 2015.
J. Smith, M. Rylander, L. Rogers, and R. Dugan, "It's all
in the plans: Maximizing the benefits and minimizing the
impacts of DERs in an integrated grid," IEEE Power Energy
Mag., vol. 14. no. 2, pp. 20-29, Mar./Apr. 2015.

Biographies
Jeff Smith is with the Electric Power Research Institute,
Knoxville, Tennessee.
Bruce Rogers is with the Electric Power Research Institute,
Knoxville, Tennessee.
Jason Taylor is with the Electric Power Research Institute,
Knoxville, Tennessee.
Jeffrey Roark is with the Electric Power Research Institute,
Knoxville, Tennessee.
Bernie Neenan is with the Electric Power Research Institute,
Knoxville, Tennessee.
Thomas Mimnagh is with Consolidated Edison of New
York, New York.
Erik Takayesu is with Southern California Edison, Pomona, California.
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