Dynamic Flexible Interconnection Options for DER

We welcome the ongoing National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) ‘Distributed Generation Integration Collaborative’ which has recently published (https://www.nrel.gov/dgic/assets/pdfs/dgic-webinar-flexible-interconnection.pdf) and shared (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GyRQmahHUuc&feature=youtu.be) results of their work on dynamic flexible interconnection options for distributed PV. SGS is pleased to have contributed from our experiences of delivering flexible interconnection to utility and energy asset operating customers in the US and UK. These resources shared by NREL and EPRI provide an excellent view of the direction of travel in distributed energy and system flexibility and the benefits of that.

Smarter Grid Solutions (SGS) was one of the companies to pioneer digital and flexible solutions to overcome distributed energy grid connection and headroom issues. We have built deep insight from over a decade of implementing and operating Active Network Management (ANM) and Distributed Energy Resources Management Systems (DERMS) software that delivers flexible connections to generation, energy storage and flexible loads such as electric heating, cooling and EV charging. The analytical tools and methods we use to quantify the implications for network headroom and customer curtailment align well with the methods and analysis shared by NREL and EPRI.

The results from EPRI and NREL confirm the significant value of dynamic hosting capacity. Grid hosting capacity can be increased by 60% with less than 0.1% of energy or 20 hours of curtailment over a year based on flexible interconnection methods. The underlying principles of allowing generation access to grid capacity based on the prevailing conditions measured in real time both protect the grid and maintain operating limits but also enable that increased access for generators without expensive grid upgrades or undue delay. These materials are essential reading and viewing for anyone looking to understand the real value of flexibility of flexible grid interconnection.

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