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Distribution Systems and Planning

Training Webinars on Electricity System Planning

May-June 2022

The New England Conference of Public Utility Commissioners (NECPUC) and National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners are offering free virtual training on electricity system planning in May and June 2022, in partnership with Berkeley Lab, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Both commissioners and staff of public utility commissions are invited to attend. Participants will learn: 

  • How utilities in New England and outside the region plan their distribution systems
  • Best practices in coordinating distribution, transmission, and resource planning in the context of distributed energy resources, grid modernization and wholesale markets
  • How to design distribution system and grid modernization planning to achieve state goals, plus investment economics
  • Ways utilities are incorporating electrification of transportation and buildings in distribution planning
  • How grid architecture can guide planning and design of electric systems to ensure sequential investments fit together, simplify future decisions and future-proof investments
  • Ways states around the country are engaging in electric distribution system planning and emerging issues

Training sessions run from 1 to 3 hours starting in May. The series will close on June 30 with a states' roundtable on planning processes and hot planning topics in New England. Use registration links in the accordions below to register for each session. You may attend some or all sessions.

Contact Jessica Diaz at NARUC (jdiaz@naruc.org) if you have questions about registration. See session details below.

Bios for all speakers in the series can be found here.

Thanks to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Grid Modernization Laboratory Consortium for supporting the training.

Paul De Martini, Newport Consulting; Alan Cooke, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL); and Fritz Kahrl, Berkeley Lab

This session will present best practices for integrated planning and potential improvements for New England utilities in the context of distributed energy resources, grid modernization, and wholesale markets, with implications for utility system operations

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Lavelle Freeman and Juan Martinez, Eversource; Elton Prifti, National Grid; Kim Cullen, Avangrid; and Jody Londo, Xcel Energy

Utilities in New England and outside the region will present current and evolving approaches to distribution system planning, including goals and objectives, planning scenarios, and integration with other planning processes and grid modernization strategies. Additional topics include planning for load growth, reliability/resilience, aging infrastructure, distributed energy resources, and technological advances; distribution planning processes and methods, such as forecasting, power flow analysis, and cost/benefit analysis; and stakeholder engagement.

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This session will cover distribution system and grid modernization planning designed to achieve state goals, and enabling cost recovery for the required investments.

  • 1-1:45 p.m. Eastern - Integrated distribution system and grid modernization planning - Paul De Martini, Newport Consulting
  • 1:45-2:30 p.m. Eastern - Grid modernization investment economics, and review and assessment of grid modernization plans - Tim Woolf, Synapse Energy Economics
  • 2:30-3:15 p.m. Eastern - Considerations for planning for resilience and equity - Rebecca O'Neil, PNNL
  • 3:15-4 p.m. Eastern - Cost allocation - Dan Boff, PNNL

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Seemita Pal and Ron Melton, PNNL

This session will cover grid architecture for planning and design of electric systems to get the grid structure "right" so all the pieces fit into place, downstream decisions are simplified, and investments can be future-proofed. The session also will cover oversight of enterprise-wide efforts, including what utilities need to have in place, such as billing systems, staffing levels and experience operating systems.

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Lisa Schwartz and Natalie Mims Frick, Berkeley Lab, and Juliet Homer, PNNL

This session will present the variety of ways states are engaging in electric distribution system planning, including example state requirements, regulatory practices, plan components and emerging issues.

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Xiangqi Zhu, National Renewable Energy Laboratory

This session will provide utility examples, modeling methods, and best practices for planning distribution systems for electrification of transportation and buildings.

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