Laying the foundation for a resilient electric grid
Distributed, renewable generation will result in a far more efficient and reliable electrical system.
The electric system serves as a vital lifeline, providing the power needed for nearly every aspect of modern life. Yet the system itself is far from modern — it relies on old, centralized, fossil-fuel-burning power stations and inefficient transmission over long distances on an antiquated grid. Hurricane Sandy illustrated the brittleness of the current system, leaving 8.5 million homes and businesses in 16 states without power.
The Clean Coalition’s Distributed Generation + Intelligent Grid (DG+IG) Initiative is laying a timely foundation to transition towards a more resilient electrical power grid. Distributed, renewable generation — integrated with intelligent grid solutions — will result in a far more efficient and reliable electrical system. Local energy production will mitigate the impact of any single power station or transmission line failure. Intelligent grid solutions — such as demand response, advanced inverters, and energy storage — will significantly increase grid reliability by enabling local balancing of supply and demand for energy. Ultimately, the combination of DG+IG will allow for the creation of micro-grids that can function as standalone energy “islands” to provide continuous power for essential services during widespread grid failures.
Through the DG+IG Initiative, the Clean Coalition is working with forward-thinking utilities — such as Long Island Power Authority — to develop five DG+IG demonstration projects. Each demonstration project will prove that local renewables connected to the distribution grid can provide at least 25% of the total electric energy consumed within the distribution grid, while maintaining or improving grid reliability. These demonstration projects, which will highlight the technical and financial feasibility of high penetrations of DG, serve as models for modernizing America’s electrical system in the most intelligent manner possible.