Distribution Systems in a High Distributed Energy Resources Future: Planning, Market Design, Operation and Oversight

November 13, 2015

This report offers a practical three-stage framework to guide the evolution of distribution systems with growth in distributed energy resources. The authors provide a structured sequence that regulators and policymakers can use to assess options and develop a preferred distribution system tailored to their jurisdiction, with clear lines of sight to overarching regulatory and public policy objectives. The authors then compare three distribution operational models for the future and discuss the pros and cons of an independent Distribution System Operator (DSO) versus the distribution utility serving as the DSO. The report concludes with considerations and recommendations for policymakers, regulators, utilities and other stakeholders.