How to Plan for the Integrated Grid
Significant changes in traditional electric company resource planning are needed to enable the industry’s ongoing transformation, according to an EPRI white paper.
With growing renewable energy and distributed energy resources, multidirectional power flow, increasing customer choice and control, and other significant changes, electric companies’ long-term resource planning tools, methods, and processes may no longer be adequate for sustaining and updating a modern power system.
According to the paper, planners face growing challenges related to grid modeling (such as understanding the reliability impacts of solar and wind), integrating forecasts (such as those for load, deployment of distributed resources, renewable energy production, natural gas prices, and customer behavior), and expanding stakeholder engagement. While the objective of today’s planning is primarily meeting peak demand, future objectives must expand to include providing adequate energy and capacity at all hours, balancing various energy resources with continuously changing loads, and supporting the system’s flexibility, resiliency, and sustainability. There will need to be more coordination among generation, transmission, and distribution system planners and among the electricity, water, natural gas, and transportation sectors.
Drawing from ongoing work in numerous EPRI programs, researchers are developing a framework to inform planning for a more integrated energy network. Research plans include technical workshops and case studies on how companies are addressing these planning challenges.
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