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EPRI issued a report 'The Integrated Grid' comprising lessons learnt in smart grid pilot projects deployed by the organisation in partnership with member utilities.Planning improvements are still necessary to understand when and where distributed energy resources can be a resource, says the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI).

The EPRI whitepaper is a compilation of results achieved by the organisation during 2016 in more than 24 pilot projects deployed in Europe and the US since 2015.

Under the pilot projects, utility firms are integrating various smart grid technologies and distributed energy resources with grid networks to achieve a reliable integrated grid system.

Technologies being deployed include advanced grid communication, electric vehicle, customer engagement, solar photovoltaic and energy storage solutions.

According to EPRI, by developing integrated grid networks, utility firms improve renewable energy portfolios, optimise their operations and revenue collection, provide customers with affordable energy and achieve targets set under environmental regulations.

Some of the projects included in the report include initiatives being deployed by EPRI in partnership with Xcel Energy, Tennessee Valley Authority, Southern California Edison and the Tokyo Electric Power Company.

For instance, CPS Energy is investigating the benefits of integrating solar and battery energy storage systems with its grid network whilst the New York Power Authority partnered with Consolidated Edison to demonstrate the use of energy storage, load management and solar forecasting to integrate PV into energy distribution systems.

According to EPRI, throughout 2016, the organisation has learnt that:

  • Smart inverters improve solar PV hosting capacity depending on feeder characteristics.
  • Cross-cutting utility teams are needed in every step of the process for successful procurement and integration.
  • Technology and integration standards are not yet available.
  • DER communication and control is not yet utility-grade.
  • Standards for performance are critical to ensuring that technologies can be relied on in the field.
  • Consistent application of existing standards enables more seamless integration between manufacturers and utilities.
  • No procurement specifications exist for community-scale PV plants.
  • Planning improvements are still necessary to understand when and where DER can be a resource.
  • Demonstrations are critical to address gaps between theory and implementation.
  • Utility hands-on experience is vital to technology readiness for the Integrated Grid. [US utilities launch energy storage testbed].

 

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