Distribution Resources Planning and DER: Regulator Assistance
Western Interstate Energy Board report (2015)
EQL Energy was chosen by the State-Provincial Steering Committee (SPSC) to report on changes in electric distribution planning and operations for Western States and Provinces. Primary drivers for these changes are 1) interest from policymakers and customers in distributed energy resources (DER), and 2) grid modernization (Smart Grid). WECC is forecasting 43 GW of DER by 2022. Managing these through regulatory processes and utility planning is being determined now. In this report we provide findings and recommended steps regulators can take to engage their distribution utilities on issues related to power distribution planning/investment and distributed energy resources (e.g., solar, energy storage, demand response, EV charging, etc.). We provide regulators with a checklist of 1) utility scenarios and examples, 2) key issues and examples of state approaches, and 4) situations that require more in depth study by utilities, and 4) roadmap ideas for distribution planning that addresses issues of technological obsolescence, and conflicts between customer interests and utility business models.