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Selecting Distribution Feeders for Implementing Renewable Energy Applications

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  • Create Date April 30, 2020
  • Last Updated August 4, 2020

Selecting Distribution Feeders for Implementing Renewable Energy Applications

In this paper, a novel methodology is developed that ranks utility feeders to help selecting distribution feeders for implementation of DER systems.

Climate change concerns, mandated renewable portfolio standards, lucrative government incentives, and accelerated cost reduction in renewables and distributed energy applications are driving selecting distribution feeders in steep growth in system installations. Distributed energy resources (DER) are not commonly connected to a bulk power transmission system, instead are interconnected near the load in the electric power distribution system. DER includes renewable energy such as wind and solar, fossil-fuel based generation such as microturbines, small gas turbine units and distributed energy storage.

In this paper, a novel methodology is developed that ranks utility feeders for implementation of DER systems. This performance index is based on peak load reduction, increased system capacity, load-generation correlation, and feeder load growth. This is based on a statistical measure that quantifies the relationship between loads and the stochastic nature of renewable resources. This allows the utility to gain insight into improved benefits from non-dispatchable renewable resources such as solar and wind technologies as well as dispatchable DER technologies.

Today’s electric power system is designed to deliver high-quality and highly reliable electricity to customers. A century of development has lead to massively interconnected system that brings power from central-station generators via transmission and distribution to end-use customers. Although this system has been providing relatively inexpensive power, issues remain such as increasing and volatile fuel costs, green-house gas emissions, meeting the mandated renewable portfolio standards, and increasing customer needs for higher reliability power. One potential solution to these issues is the use of strategically installed distributed and renewable energy sources integrated at the distribution level.

Distributed energy resources (DER) are sources of electric power that are not commonly connected to a bulk power transmission system, instead are interconnected near the load in the electric power distribution system. Typically, the individual DER unit ratings are less than 10MVA and include both fossil-fuel and renewable generation as well as energy storage technologies. Because DER are sited at customer load locations, they can be more efficient than central station generators because lower transmission and distribution system losses. Targeted deployment of DER can also relieve loads on a utility’s transmission, sub-transmission, and distribution systems, and effectively increase available T&D capacity and relieve undesirable congestions.

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Selection of Distribution Feeders for Implementing Renewable Energy Applications