Track Information

Track 1 – Grid Planning and Analysis

The task of determining prudent technology investment strategies has become significantly complicated with the advent of distributed resources and evolving customer preferences. We are challenged with the prospect of integrating and extracting value from many disparate elements (including grid components and distributed energy resources that now have embedded intelligence), and that exhibit variable and particular behaviors within electricity delivery systems. Planning and analysis practices will need to address this uncertainty and complexity while ensuring coordination amongst all participants and enabling affordable outcomes. In so doing, planning approaches will need to consider the effective deployment of information management, communication and control functions as core enablers in combination with the physical system and evolving market/industry structures. This track will focus on emerging planning practices and tools, as well as remaining challenges, associated with the effective deployment of complex grid systems. Associated topics include:

  • Application of grid architecture to address requirements and design considerations for coordination frameworks, information management, communications and control systems.
  • Methods and tools that can evaluate technological and policy options.
  • Emerging practices for integrated planning, including approaches for scenario and forecasting analysis, hosting capacity analysis, interconnection processes, locational value analysis, Distributed Energy Resource (DER) sourcing, and transmission-distribution coordination.

Track 2 – Distribution System Operations, Functions, and Tools

The electric power grid is going through fundamental changes as a result of a multitude of drivers including:

  • Proliferation of distributed energy resources and their cost reductions trend
  • Government Clean Air policies and Renewable Portfolio standards (RPS)
  • Technology advancements and penetrations
  • Customer expectations for flexibility, lower cost, participation, and information
  • Markets and competitive forces

The future grid will face many technical operational challenges and provide many opportunities. This track will examine the changes required in the utility functions and processes dealing with distribution and transmission systems, remedial actions to mitigate the challenges and technology solutions to enable and facilitate the functions. The areas covered include:

  • Utility functional changes and processes required to manage the future grid operation
    1. Grid architecture and coordination frameworks
    2. Grid codes
  • Operational challenges and benefits of the future grid
    1. Electric vehicles
    2. Phase imbalance and voltage issues
  • Technology solutions required to enable utility functional objectives
    1. Distribution Management Systems (DMSs)
    2. Distributed Energy Resource Management Systems (DERMs)
    3. Microgrids, DERs, and Smart Buildings
    4. Sensing, communications and control
    5. Smart transmission technologies such as grid services provisioning and synchrophasor measurements
    6. Grid Edge Devices and secure communication of the data
    7. Data and information management
    8. Cloud computing
    9. Cybersecurity
    10. Customer enablement solutions
  • Practical experience with technology adoption and functional changes

Track 3 – Markets and Policy Track

With the increasing levels of Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) the electric industry is witnessing the extension of the more than two-decade old Transmission Open Access paradigm (TOA) to Distribution Open Access (DOA). Within this context, regulators and utilities are examining approaches to effectively value the contribution of DERs and determine the appropriate business, utility and market models that can effectively utilize them. Regulatory provisions can play a significant role in shaping market mechanisms and in determining the frameworks in which all participants can effectively interact. Within the U.S., the seams between transmission, distribution and other participants involve not only operational and business model considerations, but also Federal/State jurisdictional issues. This track will examine current efforts associated with federal/state policies and the development of market and business structures that can effectively enable the integration and utilization of DERs. Specific topics include:

  • The valuation of DERs with respect to delivering grid services
  • Evolving utility, business and market models
  • Policies that can effectively utilize DERs and incent market innovation
  • Transactive Energy Systems
  • Emerging grid services and tradable products
  • Incentive-compatible market design
  • Operational and Regulatory coordination challenges and possibilities at the T&D seams