Industry Application Experiences with DR Interconnection to the Grid
Date: Saturday, February 14, 2004 @ 21:11:13 GMT
Topic: Legal

EPRI 1005004, Final Report - Available On-line
This report describes the overall status of utility distributed resources (DR) interconnection practices in the U.S. today and gives "snapshot" examples of representative approaches being used at several utilities. While interconnection practices are being refined, many technical and financial challenges still exist...

These challenges tend to increase project risk and cost. The passage of a national interconnection standard (IEEE Std. 1547) earlier this year is expected to increase the consistency of interconnection rules across states and utility service areas.

Utility protection engineers, system designers, and customer service personnel can all benefit from the information presented herein. The report targets the distribution company's interactions with both customer and third-party DR developers. Accordingly, it presents guidance to the utility on how to better balance corporate goals and customer service priorities. The key challenge of successfully integrating DR into distribution system operations is addressed. This research area is assuming greater importance as the DR and energy markets evolve, and as DR assumes a continuing and growing presence on the electrical distribution system.

With an objective of helping utilities better prepare for interconnecting an increasing number of DR units, this report has two goals: 1) summarizing the main technical interconnection issues, and 2) describing the processes typically used to determine the suitability of interconnected DR. To accomplish these goals, this report reviews utility, customer, manufacturer, and regulatory concerns; identifies and compares the dominant technical interconnection issues; presents flowcharts of utility interconnection processes; and finally summarizes recent utility and developer interconnection experiences with DR interconnection to the grid.

Information presented in the report will help utilities better prepare for interconnecting an increasing number of DR units with the grid. Insights are offered into accomplishing this interconnection while ensuring the safe and proper performance of the distribution system. Findings highlight the breadth of utility interconnection experience, and for the first time offer a foundation for characterizing and better understanding options for determining DR suitability to interconnect.

EPRI Perspective
From a utility perspective, the interconnection of DR raises important issues that require careful consideration to ensure safe and proper distribution system performance. Utilities are responsible for providing reliable service and maintaining safe conditions for customers and workers. At the same time, utilities are increasingly being required to accommodate the connection of many types of DR sources to their systems. Customers and third party DR developers are also concerned about interconnection, wanting to accomplish this quickly and at low cost. These two positions are frequently incompatible, have led to development of state and national standards for interconnection, and have created much controversy about the entire process.

Ideally, utilities will publish clearer guidelines for their service territory that will comply both with IEEE 1547 and state/federal interconnection regulations. Simply knowing up front all the utility interconnection rules, costs, time lines, and procedures will help developers know whether or not to pursue a particular DR project.

2004 Program 101.0 Distributed Energy Resources

2003 Program 101.0 Distributed Resources

Interconnected Power Systems
Protective Relays
Government Policies

Other KeyWords
Distributed Resources
Protective Relaying

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