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White Paper

Rising to the Challenge of Renewables and DERs: Orchestrating Across the Electric Grid & Its Prosumers

Posted to GE Digital in the Digital Utility Group

image credit: GE Digital

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The advent of renewables and Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) has strained the traditional way of doing things across the electric grid. Most utilities have run pilot projects, looking to anticipate and adapt to the many impacts of renewable power and prosumers. These experiments brought many learnings. Yet now, across the grid, utilities must fully incorporate the rise of renewable energy sources (solar and wind), electric vehicles, battery storage, heat pumps as well as new types of controllable load devices, or risk being overtaken.

Transmission operators perform a balancing act with grid supply and demand every day. Meanwhile Distribution operators work to ensure quality and continuity of service to end-users. Customers and regulators expect this to be done flawlessly. But renewables and DERs are creating unprecedented challenges for the electric grid. Every legacy power engineering paradigm is now being turned upside down. In some geographies, there is now more energy being fed directly at the Distribution level than there is at the Transmission level. Utility leaders need an end-to-end solution to coordinate how they model, monitor, forecast, and ultimately control and dispatch these new resources, across all internal and external systems and stakeholders.

This white paper will examine the complex challenges renewables and DERs represent for transmission and distribution before outlining the need for a coordinated solution to represent and manage them across the modern power grid. Managing these resources can no longer be one department’s pet project. When examining today’s situation, we can see that every single grid operator business process is impacted. Therefore, renewables and DER Orchestration needs to reach throughout every corner of a utility’s organization in a transverse, consistent manner.

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GE Digital
GE (NYSE: GE) is the world’s Digital Industrial Company, transforming industry with software-defined machines and solutions that are connected, responsive and predictive.
Frédéric Wauquiez's picture

Thank Frédéric for the Post!

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Richard Brooks's picture
Richard Brooks on Feb 17, 2021

You make some excellent points about the need for coordination as DER continues to expand. This is an area that is ripe for new, national energy industry standards, which NAESB is pursuing. A kickoff meeting is scheduled for 2/25, I hope you will join us

Frédéric Wauquiez's picture
Frédéric Wauquiez on Mar 1, 2021

Thks Richard for your feedback and invite. I've not been able to make it on 2/25, but would love to catch-up at some point. Will connect on Linkedin so we exchange contacts. Thks

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Feb 23, 2021

"Yet now, across the grid, utilities must fully incorporate the rise of renewable energy sources (solar and wind), electric vehicles, battery storage, heat pumps as well as new types of controllable load devices, or risk being overtaken."

Frédéric, by what would utilities risk being overtaken? Do you really believe most consumers have any interest in generating their own electricity, or that it would be more cost/labor/fuel-efficient than generating it for an entire community en masse at a utility power plant?

 

 

Frédéric Wauquiez's picture
Frédéric Wauquiez on Mar 1, 2021

Thks Bob for your question. CO2 emissions reductions target can not be achieved without a very large share of Renewables in the mix, and aggregators/retailers offer many innovative DER-based solutions for housing/transportation, etc. that end customer are willing to enjoy. A share of large conventional generators will still be required for capacity as well as inertia services -notably. What we meant with "utilities risk being overtaken" is by the pace at which numerous small DERs are being deployed / are asking to connect. Utilities need to feedback in a few days to the customers telling "yes/no/yes if" to connect, they need to be ready to register/provision/commission/model etc. all these small devices, and then manage all the impacts to Distribution and Transmission operations. That's a lot of new processes/tools/training etc. that need to be started early enough. 

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