Study finds utilities should implement DER management systems now to save money

Utilities need to adopt new technologies and new ways of thinking to slash the cost of integrating renewable energy generators, electric vehicles and other distributed energy resources (DERs) into their grids, according to the latest white paper from Smarter Grid Solutions (SGS).

The report concludes that utilities should begin implementing distributed energy resource management systems (DERMS) immediately to save money and meet decarbonization targets, while also continuing to meet the needs of their increasingly sophisticated and active customers.

“The number of electric cars, solar panels and other DERs being connected to the grid is going to rocket from tens of thousands at present to millions within the next decade, so now is the right time to invest in the right system,” said Bob Currie, chief technology officer at Smarter Grid Solutions and the author of the white paper. “The white paper also offers a comparison of Great Britain and other markets that are developing smart grids, such as Germany and the United States.”

As distribution utilities become Distribution System Operator (DSO) companies — offering a wide variety of services on top of looking after wires and substations — they need the right tools at their disposal to manage their grids, and technology such as DERMS is an essential part of that mix.

The white paper warns that the policies and practices used by transmission utilities to manage their networks cannot simply be copied across to the distribution grid.

The transmission networks are operated using well-established and accurate mathematical models and have monitoring systems in place, along with a high degree of stability, redundancy, multiple layers of security, plus a common set of price signals to operate the market.

In contrast, distribution networks have a much larger number of connections, and wires aren’t commonly monitored and controlled autonomously in real-time, with the amount of electricity flowing into and out of the system now changing rapidly and DERs often clustering in localized areas, causing issues for individual substations.

In the United States, 2019 will mark a watershed year, with storage capacity exceeding 1 GWh, while forward-thinking states like New York are establishing distribution system platforms and requiring utilities to lay out five-year implementation plans.

SGS will be showcasing its innovative DERMS software at this week’s DistribuTECH conference in Louisiana.

To access a copy of this white paper, click here: https://www.smartergridsolutions.com/landing-pages/derms-whitepaper/

News item from Smarter Grid Solutions

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