File size:1.30 MB
Sector Name:Power Delivery
Document Type:Technical Report
FileType:Adobe PDF (.pdf)
This Product is publicly available.
Many factors -- including restructuring of the electric utility
industry and an increased demand for electricity -- are driving the
adoption of distributed energy technologies. This primer outlines the
potential impacts that distributed generation and energy storage
technologies (collectively called distributed energy resources) may
have on utility distribution company planning. The primer focuses on
distributed generation technologies with a capacity of 500 kW to 5 MW
as well as energy storage systems with capacities up to 15 MW and
ride-through times as high as several hours.
BackgroundOn the distribution level, the traditional approach ("poles and wires"
solutions) to meet growing electric demand involves the installation of
additional equipment such as transformers, protection equipment, and
feeders. Long time periods are frequently required to recover the cost
of these expensive capital investments. Distributed energy resources
(DER) may present the utility distribution company (UDC) with the
opportunity to potentially defer, or in some cases eliminate, these
costly capital investments. Ultimately, however, the competitive market
may drive DER implementation more so than capital investment needs.
EPRI sponsored this primer to help UDC planners evaluate the many
DER-related issues, including DER applications, impacts of DER on the
distribution system, and regulatory issues related to DER ownership.
ObjectiveTo provide UDC planning personnel with the information necessary to
make informed decisions about the use of emerging DER technologies as a
substitute for, or a complement to, traditional distribution system
ApproachThe project team sought to provide UDC planners with a briefing on DER
technologies and issues surrounding their implementation. They compiled
this primer using in-house EPRI and Energy International resources.
Sample distribution planning methodologies and other input from
EPRI-member utilities also provided valuable information. Five case
studies are included in which UDCs installed particular DER
technologies as a means of transmission and distribution (T&D) support.
ResultsDER technologies provide a number of important benefits to electricity
suppliers and energy consumers. Electricity suppliers gain
opportunities for improving efficiency in power generation and
distribution, while customers obtain innovative solutions to their
energy needs. These resources can be positioned close to the point of
use or geographically dispersed throughout a utility's service
territory. They can also be interconnected to the utility's
distribution or sub-transmission system. In a relatively small number
of installations, grid support applications have utilized DER.
The first step in increasing support for DER is for UDC planners and
regulatory agencies to become educated on DER technologies and the
hurdles that remain in the way of widespread implementation. UDC
planning methods can then be modified to incorporate the complicated
DER cost-benefit structure. Only then can DER be compared on an
"apples-to-apples" basis with traditional poles and wires solutions for
T&D grid support applications.
This primer covers the following topics: distribution planning, grid
constraints and potential DER applications, issues related to DER
implementation, DER technology overview, a description of traditional
solutions versus DER solutions for grid support, and case studies for
five DER technologies. Appendices to the primer provide a detailed
analysis of five DER technologies that fall within the scope of this
project -- internal combustion engines, combustion turbines, fuel
cells, flow batteries, and superconducting magnetic energy storage.
EPRI PerspectiveThis report is intended to provide UDC planners with the basic
information necessary to consider DER in the planning process. However,
in order for UDC planners to successfully and cost-effectively
implement these resources as a means of deferring or avoiding T&D
upgrades, they must fully understand the unique DER characteristics.
Tools need to be developed to help planners quantify the many primary
and secondary benefits of DER and select technologies for specific
applications. While this primer covers a wide spectrum of topics and is
necessarily limited in the depth of its scope, other EPRI tools and
products may provide UDC planners with a more detailed assessment of
specific DER topics.
For further information about EPRI, call the EPRI Customer Assistance Center at (800) 313-3774 or email firstname.lastname@example.org