The United States is burdened by a dated and inefficient electrical system. To meet the energy challenges of the future, we must transition to a smarter, more efficient, more sustainable electrical system that can power our economy for the long-term. Distributed energy resources — such as distributed generation, advanced inverters, demand response, and energy storage — are transforming our power system. Optimizing the locations and portfolios of distributed energy resources will be key to maximizing the value to utilities and ratepayers. For example, a May 2012 study by Southern California Edison found that the utility could save $2 billion in system upgrade costs if they guided distributed generation to higher value locations on its grid.
The Clean Coalition is helping utilities and policymakers adopt smarter grid planning process and establish precedents that can be replicated nationally.
Our proposal for evolving existing utilities into dedicated Distribution System Operators (DSOs) would establishing a clear demarcation between distribution and transmission operations and the management of market participation. For more information on DSOs, see our 51st State submission, our filing to the California Public Utilities Commission, and our comments in the Role of the Utility #SEPAchat.
The documents below highlight useful work by the Clean Coalition on grid planning.
An Overview of Distribution Resources Planning
Updated October 5, 2015. This paper is intended to inform utilities, regulators, clean energy businesses, and other key stakeholders about the benefits of proactive distribution grid planning and provide a summary of key components.
Planning Distributed Generation for Transmission Savings
Updated March 19, 2014. The Clean Coalition recommends that state regulators and utilities account for potential transmission savings when planning for and awarding contracts to resources on the distribution grid. Distributed generation can have significant locational value to ratepayers, including avoided transmission costs, avoided line losses, and avoided transmission and distribution upgrade costs.
Proactive Distribution Planning Example (California Assembly Bill 327)
Updated March 10, 2014. California passed Assembly Bill 327 in 2013, which included requirements that the state’s largest utilities proactively plan their grids for the optimal deployment of distributed resources. This document contains the Clean Coalition’s recommendations on how to develop and implement those plans, including the latest thinking on locational value, benefits of advanced inverters, and guidance to developers on siting new distributed generation.
It’s Time for Grid Planners to Put Distributed Resources on par with Transmission
Published November 13, 2013. This Clean Coalition op-ed explains the significance of new planning requirements in California and how a new approach to grid planning, one that recognizes the full value of DER and identifies optimal locations for deployment, is needed to ensure that ratepayer dollars are efficiently invested in a smarter, cleaner, and more resilient grid.
Locational Benefits Brief
Updated November 6, 2013. The Locational Benefits Brief describes the major types of benefits that can be realized by ratepayers and communities when deploying new distributed generation as compared to conventional or remote generation. These benefits can provide a strong case for designing policy to encourage investment in clean local energy and serve as key components in calculating the value of such energy.