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Smart Grid

Energy Infrastructure Modernization

Interoperability Learning Modules

The Smart Grid Learning Module series includes short (less than 15-minute) videos for state utility commissions on the economics of interoperability, operational considerations for interoperability, and roles and responsibilities of state regulators. Accompanying each module are links to glossary terms and recommended reading.  NARUC will release new videos throughout 2020.

NARUC thanks the U.S. Department of Commerce National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) for its support.

How Interoperability Supports Policy Objectives

Speaker: Dr. Lynne Kiesling, Institute for Regulatory Law & Economics, Carnegie Mellon University | Knowledge Problem, LLC

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Dr. Lynne Kiesling provides an overview of several important concepts surrounding interoperability in the electricity system along with the economic benefits of interoperability. Interoperability, by ensuring that components (e.g. DERs) work well together, increases system-wide benefit and helps achieve policy objectives including safety, reliability, resilience, and affordability. Dr. Kiesling also highlighted the difference between resilience and reliability and NARUC’s 2019 report on methods for calculating the value of resilience for DERs.

Additional Reading

Minnesota Updates Interconnection Standards

Speaker: Tricia DeBleeckere, Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC)

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Tricia DeBleeckere of the Minnesota PUC staff provides an example of implementing an interoperability standard. DeBleeckere highlights how the PUC updated the state’s interconnection standard from the 2004 to the 2018 updated standard. This update allowed distributed energy resources (DERs) to interconnect to the grid at both the distribution and bulk system and improved coordination between DER operators, distribution system operators, and transmission system operators. The interoperability standard ensured that all DERs interact with the grid in the same way, allowing improved awareness and control.

Additional Reading

Michigan Leverages ZigBee Standards

Speaker: Ryan Laruwe, Michigan Public Service Commission (PSC)

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Ryan Laruwe of the Michigan PSC staff provides an example of implementing an interoperability standard. Laruwe highlights his participation with the Smart Grid Interoperability Panel (SGIP) and the application of his knowledge to a Michigan utility’s implementation of ZigBee communication standards for interruptible air conditioning, an update to the previously-used one-way radio communication for the program. The new standard allowed two-way communication and verification of load reduction. The PSC used the ZigBee Alliance to independently certify products’ compliance with the ZigBee standard. The new program was twice as effective as its predecessor and helped leverage new advanced metering infrastructure in the state. Although Michigan did not know of any other states using ZigBee products for A/C demand response, relying on the ZigBee Alliance and its interoperability certification provided the necessary certainty that these new technologies would perform.

Additional Reading

NARUC CPI Staff experts who support these activities include:

Kerry Worthington