California leads the country in deployment of distributed energy resources. The CPUC’s Distribution Resources Plan proceeding (R. 14-08-013) continues the state’s work in developing supporting policies to enable increasing DERs in a cost-effective manner that promotes the state’s clean energy and climate goals, and ordered the three IOUs to develop Distribution Resource Plans (DRPs). These DRPs act as blueprints for how the IOUs can plan for and optimize the use of DERs. Our framework paper, “More than Smart: A Framework to Make the Distribution Grid More Open, Efficient, and Resilient” paved the development of a Walk-Jog-Run roadmap of how California plans to integrate increasing levels of DER, focused on distribution planning, operations, and markets.

Since then, each IOU has published their DRPs, initiated pilot projects deferring grid upgrades using DER alternatives, and initiated several technical working groups on grid planning, DER valuation and DER growth scenarios.

As part of the More Than Smart initiatives, Gridworks facilitated stakeholder discussion processes for the IOUs to better inform the CPUC’s Distribution Planning Process (DRP) proceeding, otherwise known as Working Groups. Gridworks has hosted over 50 meetings to support the IOUs; nearly 100 people and organizations participated in the development of these recommendations.

On January 8, 2018, Gridworks submitted the final reports on ICA and LNBA focused on long-term refinements of the tools and underlying methodology.

Working Materials

The Integration Capacity Analysis (ICA) is a tool that specifies how much capacity the distribution system has to host DERs. Understanding and implementing hosting capacity has been discussed in multiple states, including Hawaii and New York. California has been a frontrunner in its development of feeder-level hosting capacity analysis – looking forward, hosting capacity results will be used to improve and streamline the interconnection process, and inform distribution planning.

The Locational Net Benefits Analysis (LNBA) tool provides information on locational benefits and costs of DERs on the distribution systems. Understanding the locational value of DERs has significant benefits in identifying high-value locations for DER deployment, informing resource procurement decisions, and developing location-specific rates or tariffs for DERs.

Finally, the DER Growth Scenarios and Load Forecasts Working Group reviews process and methodologies for forecasting the adoption of DER and distribution load in order to inform the DRP process.

All working materials developed as part of the Working Group process may be found at: http://www.drpwg.org.