New Report Showcases States Digging Deeper Into Electric Distribution System Planning

January 4, 2018

With infrastructure aging and grid modernization promising greater reliability and resilience - and more consumer options - state involvement in long-term planning for electric distribution systems is growing.

A new report, State Engagement in Electric Distribution System Planning, documents activities in eight states with statutory or public utility commission requirements for electric distribution system or grid modernization plans, plus four jurisdictions with proceedings on such requirements underway or planned. The report also looks at activities in several additional states to provide a picture of the significant variation in approaches. (See table.)

Among the topics the report covers are state approaches to planning distribution systems and grid modernization investments, analyzing non-wires alternatives to traditional distribution system investments, identifying capacity of distribution systems to integrate distributed energy resources such as rooftop solar, and assessing the benefits of these resources by location.

States can learn from each other and tailor successful approaches to their unique circumstances. Reviewing the broad range of legislative and public utility commission activities described in the report - with links to key proceedings and documents - is a useful starting point.

Report authors are Juliet Homer and Alan Cooke, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory; Lisa Schwartz and Greg Leventis, Berkeley Lab; and Francisco Flores-Espino and Michael Coddington, National Renewable Energy Laboratory. The report was funded by the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability and Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy - Solar Energy Technologies Office, through DOE's Grid Modernization Initiative.

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