IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - March/April 2017 - 58

This article describes the value of a working group
like TSRG and how it can be beneficial to improve
the DER interconnection process.
to form a working group to review the utilities' technical
DER interconnection requirements with the goal of increasing common practices and developing a common interconnection guideline. The working group was called Massachusetts Technical Standards Review Group (Massachusetts
TSRG) and was formed with nine permanent members representing the state utilities, government agencies, the DPU,
and the DER customers/developers. To ensure transparency,
the TSRG meetings have been open to the public, and the
meeting materials have been posted onto a publicly accessible webpage. The working group convened in January of
2013 and continues to help the state achieve its ambitious
goals of deploying renewable energy.
After reviewing each utility's DER interconnection requirements, it was determined that there were many areas where
utilities could harmonize the requirements while keeping
their systems safe and reliable. Here is a listv of some major
changes that utilities have made to their interconnection
requirements as a result of their participation in the TSRG
group discussions.
1) Substation transformer backfeed. As the DER penetration on the distribution system increased, the chance
of power backflow through the substation transformer
increased as well. Not all utilities in the state were
comfortable with that. After reviewing many transformer
reports, as well as Massachusetts
and other state utility practices,
allowing power flow backfeed
through the substation transformer
was considered a common practice among Massachusetts utilities. This practice has helped the
Commonwealth to achieve its renewable energy deployment goals
by allowing higher penetration of
DERs on the distribution system.
2) Supplemental review. If a DER
size is not large enough to require
a full impact study and is not
small enough to be interconnected
in a simplified process, the impact
of the interconnection on the grid
will be analyzed in a phase called
supplemental review, which comprises three screens: 1) penetrafigure 1. National Grid's Solar Phase II program tour. The presenter is detion level, 2) voltage/power qualscribing the hardware installed at the site. (Photo used with permission from
ity, and 3) safety/reliability. The
National Grid.)
To achieve these goals, the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU), in collaboration with the
state utilities, solar developers, and consulting firms has developed policies to enhance solar energy deployment. Another key organization that has done a tremendous amount
of work to achieve the state's goals is the Department of Energy Resources (DOER), which develops and implements
policies and programs aimed at ensuring the adequacy,
security, diversity, and cost-effectiveness of the Commonwealth's energy supply to create a clean, affordable, and
resilient energy future. Many other government agencies,
including the Boston mayor's office, Massachusetts Clean
Energy Center (CEC), and others have also been working
closely with these organizations to meet and enhance the
state goals.
As utilities experienced a higher volume of distributed
energy resource (DER) interconnection applications, there
was a need to improve the interconnection policies along
with many technical challenges to be resolved. After many
meetings among utilities, DOER, and DER customer representatives, some changes to the state interconnection tariff
was recommended to the DPU. Those who participated in
this collaborative teamwork realized that as the penetration
of DERs grows, there will be many technical challenges in
the coming years to be resolved. Hence, it was recommended

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

IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - March/April 2017 - Cover1
IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - March/April 2017 - Cover2
IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - March/April 2017 - 1
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IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - March/April 2017 - Cover3
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