AEIC Member Companies Discuss DER and Grid Ops


Improving and Integrating

Fortnightly Magazine - June 2018

The Association of Edison Illuminating Companies' Distributed Energy Resources Subcommittee met at the Grand Hotel Marriott Resort in Point Clear, Alabama, February 28 — March 1, 2018. The DER Subcommittee is focused on the technical and operational challenges, best practices, and implemented solutions related to the integration of distributed energy resources into the electrical grid.

The future of distribution grid operations will be exponentially more complex in the future due to the integration of renewable energy resouårces, concerns regarding grid security, and customer requirements.

To safely and effectively operate future grids will require a high performance, integrated operational platform. The Department of Energy has endorsed this concept and many of the real-time operational system suppliers in the industry are attempting to migrate accordingly.

The first day of the meeting included an EPRI update on IEEE 1547  Standard for Interconnecting Distributed Resources with Electric Power Systems by Jeff Smith, EPRI Program Manager of Distribution Planning, Operations, and Studies.

It also included a visit to Alabama Power Company's (APC) Mobile Alabama Distribution Control Center, and a discussion on Exploiting AMI System Capabilities by Derl Rhoades, Alabama Power's Power Delivery Development and Support Manager.

From left, Jeff Smith (EPRI) and Steve Kirkham (Alabama Power)

The day concluded with a tour of the control center by Eric Boykin, Distribution Control Center Manager.

Bill Mintz, Alabama Power's Power Delivery Technology Manager, briefed the group on APC's Integrated Distribution Management System (IDMS). The Alabama Power/GE Integrated Distribution Management System provides the seamless integration of mission critical applications required to increase the efficiency and operational intelligence capabilities of today's distribution operator.

In the past, an operator relied upon disparate pieces of data from different platforms to make decisions regarding system operation and outage activities, which in many cases were time-consuming and could result in suboptimal operational decisions.

The IDMS ties together many of the functions of operating an electric power distribution system through a single user interface for Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition, Outage Management, and an Advanced Distribution Management System (DMS) for incorporating data from these systems and converting it into actionable information, either through the operator or by the system performing the action without operator intervention.

Eric Boykin conducts a tour of APC’s Mobile Alabama DCC.

The IDMS application incorporates advanced functions to improve the operational efficiency of grid management, improve system and customer reliability, eliminate operator switching errors via a switching application that incorporates checks and balances, and distribution power flow to check for any system violations prior to executing.

IDMS also provides a platform for active demand management through real-time information (CVR and Critical Load Shed), provides a platform for advanced operator training and storm playbacks, and incorporates functions to control, forecast, and make economic decisions regarding the management and dispatching of DER connected to the distributed grid.

The second day of the Distributed Energy Resources Subcommittee meeting included presentations on PPL Electric Utilities' (PPL EU) Keystone Solar Future Project by David Quier, Director of Operations. It also included DER related issues in California by Mark Esguerra, Director of Integrated Grid Planning, Integration, and Innovation at PG&E.

Alabama Power Company's Smart Neighborhood was led by Robert Hawthorne, Manager of Distribution Engineering Services and Storm Center Director.

Cyber Security was discussed by Southern Company's Steve Sanders and Guy Palmer.

Kyle Allison discussed Southern Company's Southern Linc Communi­cations System.

Justin Harrison, Engineering Supervisor at Alabama Power, APC Distribution Support Manager, led the discussion on Fiber to Distribution.

Battery Storage was led by Jacob Tetlow, VP of Transmission and Distri­bution at Arizona Public Service (APS).

David Quier outlined PPL EU's Keystone Solar project. More than a decade ago, PPL EU embarked on the exciting journey of grid modernization to continue to provide safe, reliable, and self-healing electric service to its 1.4 million customers.

Through this challenging and transformative time, PPL EU has made tremendous investments in the areas of distribution automation, communications, and distribution management to create a platform capable of hosting a variety of intelligent grid edge devices that will provide access and benefits to all customers.

Through these progressive efforts to make a more flexible, secure, and resilient grid, PPL EU has fully deployed this technology across its entire service territory to enable centralized and fully autonomous closed-loop Fault Location, Isolation and Service Restoration (FLISR) with the capability to dynamically and interactively manage voltage, load, and demand.

David Quier explained that, armed with this foundation, PPL EU is now looking to expand its platform to plan, integrate, monitor, control, and optimize third party DER through its Keystone Project.

To accomplish this, PPL EU is partnering with the U.S. Department of Energy, General Electric, Landis + Gyr, BRIDGE Energy Group, EPRI, SEPA, and Drexel University.

Key elements of PPL EU's Keystone Program include:

Development of a customer-facing interconnection web portal to be integrated with back office applications such as PPL EU's Geographic Information System, Customer Self-Service, and Distribution Management System to dramatically shorten application review times, including those that currently require detailed engineering analysis.

Development of net load and photovoltaic forecasting engines to be integrated into operational planning and reconfiguration applications in DMS. The goal is to enable accurate and granular distribution system state estimation and forecasts to accommodate dynamic customer load behaviors and aggregated grid impacts.

Enhancements to DMS core applications such as FLISR and Volt/VAR Control to accommodate increasing penetration of PV. The goal is to build a cost-effective, robust, and secure solution to enable communication with inverter-based DERs that are technology-ready for inverters to participate in grid operation and optimization.

Battery storage costs are declining, and Arizona Public Service (APS) is a leading utility in applying battery storage systems to resolve operating issues. APS's Jacob Tetlow reviewed a number of activities that the utility has underway. 

In a joint research project with the Electric Power Research Institute, APS is adding sixteen hundred rooftop, APS-owned solar systems to homes through its Solar Partner Program (SPP).

Selected homeowners receive a credit of thirty dollars per month and have no upfront costs to participate. The APS Solar Partner Program was named as the POWERGRID International 2017 Project of the Year for Renewables Integration at the annual DistribuTECH Conference and Exhibition.

The Solar Partner Program project includes two 2 MW/2 MWh battery storage systems and will test the ability of battery energy storage to improve power quality on high penetration SPP feeders.

The storage system has been shown to improve power factor and voltage regulation, and also provides the capability to peak shave during hot summer months. APS is also taking advantage of applying battery storage in lieu of traditional infrastructure improvements to defer a 16.5-mile, 21 kV line rebuild over difficult terrain, to serve a growing area in Punkin Center, Arizona, where overloads are projected for this summer.

Initially, the utility has installed a dispatchable 2 MW/8 MWh battery storage system which will begin commercial operation the first half of 2018. Additional storage capacity can be added in future years to provide for additional load growth.

Other planned APS projects include Intermediate Feeder Energy Storage systems to test the ability to regulate reactive power and voltage with capacitor banks, a 50 MW/135 MWh battery storage system fed by a First Solar sixty-five MW solar plant, fifty 6 kW/20 kWh residential PV systems as part of their DSM plan, and a two million, three-year commercial and industrial program to apply storage
systems which mutually benefit customers and APS.