Core Sector: Energy Resources and the Environment

Distribution Systems and Planning

As the U.S. electric grid continues to change, NARUC CPI has been working to help state public utility commissions address evolving grid planning challenges and opportunities. Current topics include integrated distribution system planning; innovations in electricity modeling; and comprehensive electricity planning (through the NARUC-NASEO Task Force on Comprehensive Electricity Planning).

Since 2017, NARUC has partnered with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) to provide public utility commissions with regional, virtual and in-person training on electric distribution systems, utility distribution system planning, approaches to state engagement in integrated distribution planning, and modeling innovations. Distribution systems and planning activities complement other NARUC initiatives, such as the NARUC-NASEO Task Force on Comprehensive Electricity Planning, Smart Grid Interoperability Learning Modules, and National Council on Electricity Policy (NCEP) annual workshops.

  • Berkeley Lab Electricity Markets & Policy Group – Integrated Distribution System Planning
    Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory provides training and whitepapers on Integrated Distribution System Planning — with strong links to bulk power system planning and grid modernization strategies — in partnership with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and National Renewable Energy Laboratory, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy's Grid Modernization Initiative.

  • NARUC-NASEO Task Force on Comprehensive Electricity Planning, 2019 – 2021
    This task force enabled Task Force members, NARUC and NASEO staff, technical and subject matter experts, and others to develop a robust set of resources to support state decision makers in advancing aligned electricity system planning processes across transmission, generation, and distribution planning. The Jade Cohort Roadmap focused explicitly on describing an ideal integrated distribution planning process and included numerous examples.
  • Distribution System Planning – State Examples by Topic, May 2018
    This Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) report summarizes approaches to electric distribution system planning (DSP) that some states have adopted in the context of grid modernization and higher levels of distributed energy resources (DERs). Other states can consider adapting these approaches to help achieve the specific aims set for their own DSP processes.


Distribution systems and planning training has been made possible through the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Electricity, in partnership with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. NARUC is grateful for their leadership and partnership to enable this valuable program.

NARUC staff expert who supports these activities:

Jeff Loiter