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Grid Modernization

New Interactive Decision Framework for Investing in Local Power Grids Unveiled by DOE Lab

A new interactive decision framework released by the Lawence Berkeley National Laboratory is designed to provide utilities, states, and stakeholders with a shared understanding as more states adopt distribution planning requirements.

The new resource expands on integrated planning concepts first presented in the U.S. Department of Energy's Modern Distribution Grid series.

The new interactive framework focuses on 17 key planning topics including, among other things, forecasting loads and distributed energy resources, scenario analysis, value of DERs, asset management strategy and coordinated planning procurements.

For each of these topics, users can navigate the following sections:

  • Overview: Defines the topic, explains its importance, and provides answers to frequently asked questions
  • Roles and responsibilities: Describes how utilities, utility regulators, and stakeholders can engage and contribute throughout the planning process
  • Best practices: Provides a menu of effective actions to advance distribution planning practices
  • State practices: Identifies state efforts to address the topic through legislation, regulatory proceedings, and other activities
  • Utility practices: Provides examples of how utilities implement relevant distribution planning activities
  • Flow chart: Visually represents information flows and processes
  • Tools: Identifies methods, approaches, and other tools
  • Resources: Provides an annotated resource list for more information

“Growth in data centers, manufacturing, electric vehicles, solar, and storage are among the forces reshaping electricity loads and investments for local grids today. With increasing electricity demand and infrastructure needs, robust utility planning for reliable, resilient, and affordable electricity systems is more important than ever,” the lab noted.

“Integrated distribution system planning — an objectives-based decision framework for long-term investments in local grids — focuses on achieving these and other policy goals, as well as utility customer needs and evolution at the grid edge,” it said.

The University of California manages Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science.

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