This report, Smart Grid Distributed Energy Resources (DER) Projects Assessment, develops a methodology and quantitative metrics to evaluate Smart Grid projects related to integrating distributed energy resources (DER) into the grid and market operations, including distributed generation, storage, demand response, and renewables. This project includes a Smart Grid project self-assessment spreadsheet that identifies characteristics important for Smart Grid projects to achieve integration of distributed resources—that is, those characteristics that indicate the extent to which these projects can fulfill the Smart Grid objectives. The assessment methodology is then applied to a sample project showing before-and-after Smart Grid technology implementations and Smart Grid benefit changes. In addition, a spreadsheet to identify key characteristics of DER Smart Grid projects is included for the first three EPRI Smart Grid demonstration projects. Tracking Smart Grid project characteristics is an important collaborative tool to inform the industry of who’s doing what in Smart Grid activities to encourage collaboration that will further the interoperability and widespread penetration of DER.
The Smart Grid Project Self-Assessment methodology allows projects to be assessed according to their overall Smart Grid value and compared either to Smart Grid benefits before the project was implemented or against other projects. However, the results should not be looked upon as absolute benefits or cost justifications because a lower cost of a less beneficial project could still be cost justified—while the higher cost of a more beneficial project might not. In addition, projects can indicate that they will review the possibility of implementing a certain technology, but they may end up not implementing it or implementing only a small portion of it. Therefore, this methodology is acknowledged to be a rough estimate of the degree of effort in a project toward the Smart Grid rather than the actual Smart Grid results.
The report describes the background and the methodology for assessing Smart Grid projects.
The Smart Grid DER Project Assessment methodology uses a spreadsheet to assess projects according to five Smart Grid benefits in five Smart Grid categories.
The following are the Smart Grid benefits:
- Improved power system reliability provided by Smart Grid technology
- Increased energy efficiency provided by Smart Grid technology
- Decreased costs through automation, standardization, and flexibility
- Increased security from cyber and physical hazards
- Minimized environmental impact
The Smart Grid categories for evaluating the benefits are as follows:
- Electronic Equipment
- Communication Media and Protocols
- Data Management
- System Integration
- Software Applications
Using the spreadsheet and entering a Y for each technology in each category that exists in the project being assessed, a score for each benefit is calculated as well as a total score and a percentage of a perfect score.
Application, Value and Use
The efforts toward a Smart Grid are swiftly evolving. New technologies and standards are being developed, and new functional requirements are being identified. Projects need to be evaluated against these Smart Grid visions, and the Smart Grid Project Assessment spreadsheet will need to be updated to reflect these new requirements. Tracking Smart Grid project characteristics is an important collaborative tool to keep the industry informed about who’s doing what in Smart Grid activities. Although the Smart Grid encompasses many domains in the energy industry, this tracking tool specifically targets integration of DER—including demand response, storage, renewables, and distributed generation—into a virtual power plant. Tracking these projects will encourage others to share project activities and lessons learned collaborate in order to promote the interoperability and widespread penetration of DER.
Different qualitative methodologies have been developed to assess Smart Grid projects. The methodology described in this report has developed quantitative metrics to measure the Smart Grid value of projects.