IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - May/June 2017 - 76

of supply. Integration of DERs and distributed grids can
increase efficiencies in the use of the existing grid and
become part of the overall development strategy for balanc-
ing supply and demand uncertainties and risks with a variety
of different resources. In cases where distributed grids become
predominant (e.g., renewable intermittent DERs paired with
energy storage) and grid usage becomes equally variable,
assuring a secure and reliable supply will require an intel-
ligent, modern, resilient, flexible, and safe grid. Develop-
ing this modern digital grid requires a comprehensive,
holistic approach that includes foundational and enabling
infrastructure deployed at a pace reflecting the regulatory
environment in which companies operate and the pace of
DER adoption.

Modern Grid Ingredients
Building this intelligent grid is a monumental task (particu-
larly on the distribution and grid-edge sides, which are vast
and heterogeneous) that has led to the emergence of new
concepts, technologies, and paradigms. Examples of this
include debates regarding future grid architecture (whether,
for example, the grid should be distributed, hybrid, or central-
ized); advances in grid modeling, simulation, and analysis;
the introduction of the microgrid concept to enhance resil-
iency and facilitate DER integration; and the convergence of
information and operations technologies.

Evolving with the Times
The emerging utility of the future must evolve in ways such
that all elements within the utility industry adapt to this new
and dynamic customer-centric reality. This new paradigm is
overarching and encompasses
✔ infrastructure and engineering aspects such as system-
wide, real-time monitoring, protection, automation,
and control of power delivery systems with DERs and
enhanced grid resiliency, reliability, and power quality
✔ processes and organizational aspects such as updated
planning, operations, and engineering practices and
standards; a trained workforce; and a suitable stake-
holder organizational structure
✔ business aspects such as asset ownership of new tech-
nologies and concepts (DERs, microgrids, and so
forth) and service diversification
✔ regulatory and policy aspects such as rate and market
design and business models for power delivery sys-
tems with DERs.
Furthermore, changing weather patterns are leading to an
increased frequency of severe events and associated risks for
electric utilities, such as extreme temperatures accompanied
by abnormal peak demands and severe droughts accompa-
nied by wildfires and infrastructure damage. Average tem-
perature rise stresses grid equipment (e.g., transformers and
T&D lines) and reduces its lifetime.
In addition to adapting planning and operations prac-
tices to this "new normal," the future will require updated
76

ieee power & energy magazine

equipment design as well as different engineering and con-
struction practices to counteract the impact of climate change
and enable the adoption of new technologies. For instance,
impacts caused by the adoption of inverter-based DERs tech-
nologies such as voltage fluctuations, reverse power flows,
low-fault currents that affect system protection performance,
and potential loss of inertia (requiring frequency regulation)
need to be addressed.
Advanced monitoring, protection, automation, and control
technologies; new tools for operations, planning, and com-
munications; and robust and foundational infrastructure-all
of these will be needed to facilitate the transition to a high-
renewables/high-DER grid. Although potential solutions
related to grid technology are challenging and complex, they
are at a more advanced stage than those needed to address
emerging regulatory, policy, and business problems and needs
(some of which are being triggered or enabled by technol-
ogy developments). In short, significant work is required to
address the business, legal, regulatory, and policy side of the
emerging utility of the future.

Integration: Looking at the Bigger Picture
Integrating high penetration levels of renewables, DERs,
energy storage, and EVs into the electric power system
requires increasing the T&D system's ability to host and
enable the use of these resources while improving the reli-
ability, resiliency, and safety of the electrical power supply.
Grid modernization is key to realizing this potential. The
traditional assumption that T&D systems could be analyzed
separately is no longer valid: joint modeling, simulation, and
analysis of T&D systems (and particularly subtransmission
and distribution systems) increasingly require new model-
ing approaches and simulation tools. This interdependency
is growing progressively and beginning to impact T&D sys-
tems' operations and planning.
DER proliferation is already a reality in states such as
California and Hawaii, and innovations are under way not
only to proactively address potential operations, planning,
and engineering challenges and inefficiencies but also to
achieve the potential benefits derived from adopting these
technologies-both for customers and society as a whole.
Utilities operating in these markets must continue the evolu-
tion toward a modernized distribution grid at a faster pace
than utilities operating in emerging DER markets.
Furthermore, even larger-scale penetration of DERs is
expected given the imminent-and, in some cases, already
well under way-grid parity achieved by distributed genera-
tion (DG) technologies, such as PVs, in these markets; con-
sequently, modernization of grid infrastructures and systems
should be considered necessary rather than optional invest-
ments to enable the normal operation of modern and future
distribution systems. It is worth noting that even utilities oper-
ating in states with only incipient penetration levels of DERs
recognize the imminence and urgency of preparing for the
transition to this new paradigm and are actively working on
may/june 2017



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