center for partnerships & innovation

Electricity System Transition

Electric System Transformation

Distribution Systems and Planning

Since 2017, NARUC has partnered with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) to provide public utility commissions with regional, in-person training on electric distribution systems, utility distribution system planning, and approaches to state engagement in integrated distribution planning. Training sessions are customized to each region and have also included topics such as: planning for resilience and reliability, scenario modeling, hosting capacity analysis, and locational net benefits approaches.

Since 2019, NARUC has partnered with the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO) and National Association State Consumer Advocates (NASUCA) to invite their members to participate. Attendees have included commissioners, energy office directors, consumer advocates, and staff working on grid modernization and distribution planning issues. Trainers have included experts from across the U.S. Department of Energy’s national laboratories, research and consulting firms, and independent consultants.

Distribution systems and planning training complements 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.

 

Integrated Distribution Systems Planning Learning Modules

  • The Integrated Distribution Systems Planning Learning Module series includes 101-level sessions on electric distribution systems, utility distribution system planning, and state engagement in distribution planning. More in-depth technical sessions cover topics such as planning for resilience and reliability and emerging distribution planning analyses (for example, scenario modeling, hosting capacity analysis, and locational net benefits). The training is made possible through the U.S. Department of Energy’s Grid Modernization Laboratory Consortium, in partnership with Berkeley Lab, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

LBNL - Distribution System Planning – State Examples by Topic, May 2018

  • This Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) report summarizes approaches or elements of 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.

LBNL - Overview of Integrated Distribution Planning Concepts and State Activity , March 2018

  • In recent years, electric utilities have seen a rapid increase in the deployment of small-scale, grid-connected distributed energy resources (DERs) – including energy efficiency, demand response and flexible loads, distributed generation (primarily solar photovoltaic systems), energy storage systems, and electric vehicles. Deployment of these DERs is expected to increase in coming years. In most cases, the utilities do not own or control these DERs, and in some cases they do not even have knowledge of the DERs existence, location, capabilities, and status (i.e., “visibility”). These trends are leading to new challenges for utilities in planning their infrastructure investments and managing power quality at the level of the distribution system.

PNNL - Modern Distribution Grid Project

  • Collaborating with the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Electricity, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) has published a three-volume publication set that is intended to develop a consistent understanding of requirements to inform investments in grid modernization. The Modern Distribution Grid Project (DSPx) informs decision-makers interested in pursuing grid modernization on any or all of the following goals: a) reliability, safety and operational efficiency, b) enabling customer adoption of distributed energy resources (DER), and c) the utilization of DER as non-wires alternatives. A key objective of the collaboration is to gain a consistent understanding of the functional and technological requirements that facilitate the adoption of a widely applicable set of technologies for planning and operations that meet each states' objectives for grid modernization.

Midwest (Virtual) Regional Training on Integrated Distribution System Planning, October 2020

  • The Organization of MISO States, National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, National Association of State Energy Officials, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory invite public utility commissions and state energy offices in the Midwest or MISO footprint to participate in a virtual training on integrated distribution system planning October 13-15, 2020, 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Central each day.

Southeastern Distribution Systems and Planning Training, March 2020

  • NARUC, the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO), and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) offered a distribution systems and planning training designed for Southeastern energy officials on March 11-12, 2020. Due to COVID-19, the training was held virtually.

Mid-Atlantic Distribution Systems and Planning Training, March 2019

Western Distribution Systems and Planning Training, May 2018

  • NARUC, NASEO, LBNL, and the Western Interstate Energy Board (WIEB) hosted a distribution systems and planning training in Salt Lake City, Utah, on May 2-3, 2018.

Midwest Distribution System and Planning Training, January 2018

  • NARUC, LBNL, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), and Organization of MISO States (OMS) partnered to deliver a distribution and systems planning training for Midwestern regulators in St. Paul, Minnesota on January 16-17, 2018.

NECPUC Distribution Systems and Planning Training, Sept 2017

  • NARUC, LBNL, and the New England Conference of Public Utility Commissioners (NECPUC) designed and delivered a distribution and systems planning training for New England regulators in Hallowell, Maine on September 27-29, 2017.

Funder and Partners:

Distribution systems and planning training has been made possible through the U.S. Department of Energy’s Grid Modernization Laboratory Consortium, 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.