Integrated Modeling Tool for Regulators

White Papers > Microgrid Design > Integrated Modeling Tool for Regulators

This report presents the results of the first phase of a multi-phased project to develop an Integrated Modeling Tool for Regulators (IMT) that supports decision-making for regulatory proceedings on integrated resource planning, grid modernization proceedings, rate cases and other state and federal dockets involving the integration of distributed energy resources (DER) into the power delivery system. This first phase of the project focused on defining the scope, performance goals, and technical requirements, and conducting a proof of concept by creating a demonstrative software prototype – the first technical component of the IMT.

The need for an IMT is motivated by a recognition of the impact of DER on distribution networks and their value as dispatchable and flexible resources to the grid. These DER are interconnected to distribution networks as individual resources, aggregated resources, and microgrids.

Modeling tools are available today to evaluate the economics of interconnected DER to inform regulatory decision-making on issues such as net-metering. Other modeling tools are available to evaluate the impacts on the distribution circuits to which DER are interconnected, such as local constraints and voltage support. However, there is no tool to demonstrate via power flow how economic incentives and tariffs can be used to leverage DER for local grid support, considering both planning and operations. Such a tool requires economic, DER build-out capability, and power flow analysis to assess locational performance on the distribution system.

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