Project Title: Distribution Planning Criteria and Tools for Future Distributed Energy Resource Penetration Scenarios using Probabilistic Approaches

Project Summary: In this project, the team is developing distribution system planning criteria and associated tools for utility engineers for accommodating future integration of distributed energy resources (primarily distributed solar). These tools provide the utility the capability of modeling the impact of uncertain future DER penetration scenarios, quantifying the impacts of DER options and penetrations on distribution expansion and upgrade schemes.
Using problematic projected load will lead to signification over- or under-estimation in making distribution system expansion plans, causing utilities millions of dollars when making decisions in equipment upgrades or degrading power system reliability and stability. An example of the new distribution system planning needs is making decisions on the use of larger feeder conductors and more advanced voltage control schemes versus the deployment of demand response programs or community energy storage devices to handle increased solar generation at distribution level. What complicates the decision making in such cases is that the future growth rate and placement of DER sources is rather uncertain at this stage. Various penetration scenarios would need to be considered in the planning studies to understand the cost and benefit of each option. Therefore, a tool that can help the utility to model DERs, understand the impacts of integration of DERs to their system, evaluate the uncertainties introduced to the grid operation, and compare the different grid expansion and upgrade plans is critical to meet those new planning needs.

University Team Members
Lead: David Lubkeman, NC State
Members: Ning Lu, NC State and Elham Markram, Clemson University

Industry Advisors: Ron Belvin and Steven Whisenant, Duke Energy