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DOE Voice of Experience | Integrating Intermittent Resources

From Hawaii to New York, the electric power industry is experiencing a rising demand for rooftop solar and other distribution-level intermittent resources from customers seeking more choice and control over the electricity they use. While the technology on both sides of the meter is advancing and policy makers are debating renewable energy goals, net metering and open markets, utility operators are facing increasing pressures from their customers to connect customer owned generation to the distribution grid, or they will soon feel that pressure.

At the same time, there is growing body of knowledge within the utilities that are integrating increasing levels of variable resources. This knowledge gained through experience can provide valuable insight into the challenges, solutions and lessons learned integrating intermittent resources on the distribution grid.

Background

In 2011, the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Electricity and Energy Reliability (DOE OE), in partnership with electric utilities that received ARRA funds, convened a series of Regional Smart Grid Peer-to-Peer Workshops. These workshops were designed to bring together utilities to engage in dialogues about the most compelling smart grid topics in each region. The meetings offered a platform for smart grid implementers at all stages of project deployment to share their experiences and learn from each other.

Realizing the benefits of bringing utilities together to share their experiences, DOE OE convened topical peer-to-peer workshops on customer engagement and advanced distribution management systems. The result of these workshops became the Voices of Experience Initiative – an initiative intended to gather the insights and lessons learned from the utilities at the forefront of a transformation and share them with the electric power industry. This project is the third in the Voices of Experience series and follows a similar approach of identifying utilities at the forefront, capturing their experience and sharing it with the industry.

Join the Discussions

Through discussions with the working group and interviews with other utilities and stakeholders, five key topic areas were identified that are of the highest interest as utilities continue to prepare for and deal with intermittent resources on the distribution system. The next step in this initiative is to hold a conference call to discuss each topic to gain additional insights and lessons learned and provide a peer-to-peer forum for utility engineers. The "topic" calls will begin in September and continue through early October. If you are a utility professional interested in joining the topic calls to share your experience and/or learn form others, join the working group now: