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Energy Infrastructure Modernization

Energy Infrastructure Modernization

Smart Grid

In recent years, state regulators have seen a surge in utility smart grid investments, from advanced metering infrastructure to smart appliances and distributed energy resources. In their role protecting the public interest, state regulators who oversee these utility investments seek to balance benefits and costs; one way to prudently leverage new technologies is by ensuring new components are interoperable and future-proofed. NARUC has partnered with the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to educate regulators on the value of smart grid interoperability and technical standards that support it.

  • Benefits of Smart Grid Interoperability, August 2021

    This document summarizes the benefits of smart grid operability across seven categories and provides a hyperlinked list of additional interoperability resources from NARUC, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and national laboratories.

  • Smart Grid Interoperability: Prompts for State Regulators to Engage Utilities, April 21, 2020

    As technologies proliferate across the electricity network, interoperability is increasing in importance to enable communication, coordination, and integration of more components essential to the network— some of which may not be owned by the utility. Interoperability is a means to ensure that operational network components work collaboratively and efficiently with each other. Investments that emphasize interoperability can improve reliability and security, reduce design and installation costs, and enable new services by preserving competitive innovation. This paper outlines roles, responsibilities, and actions that a state regulator may consider in its review of utility proposals for investments in smart grid technologies to ensure these investments align with good interoperability practice.

  • Evolution of the Distribution System & the Potential for Distribution-Level Markets: A Primer for State Utility Regulators, January 2018

    This paper provides an overview of the evolution of the 20th Century Electricity System and considerations for distribution-level markets and market services that states and utility companies might need. It explores how the electric industry is undergoing a shift toward a two-way power flow among the bulk electric system, the distribution system, end-users, and distributed energy resources (DERs) located both behind the meter and in front of the meter. Additionally, policy, operational, and functional considerations for distribution system planning need to be taken into account by regulators as they are embarking on grid modernization initiatives in their states. Distribution systems will need innovative approaches for system operation, grid planning, interconnection procedures, and coordination with transmission system and wholesale markets to handle higher DER penetration rates, and still remain secure and reliable.