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Smart Grid Today's "GROWING PAINS: Taking on the most urgent challenges of renewables" outlines how executives around the world are adjusting to the realities of solar technology

ROCKVILLE, MD (April 7, 2015) – Smart Grid Today published “GROWING PAINS: Taking on the most urgent challenges of renewables,” a free, exclusive report that examines the challenges and costs associated with distributed energy resources integration and helps smart grid stakeholders address the problems head on.

The GROWING PAINS report is available for immediate, free download at www.smartgridtoday.com/growing-pains-renewables.

The hard knocks and stumbling blocks that sometimes come with being on the leading (or bleeding) edge of industry modernization are becoming clear for utilities worldwide working to integrate solar.

Two key issues that have emerged are how to upgrade the grid to accommodate more home PVs and how to fairly compensate customers with home PV without penalizing customers who do not have solar. Both of these issues are in play in Australia. Operators of the German grid, which is one-tenth the size of the US grid, have spent the equivalent of hundreds of millions of US dollars to retrofit with smart inverters to better integrate PV and other DER.

In the mainland US, Colorado grid stakeholders are tackling a sticky situation in which utilities say the state needs a rate for home solar customers selling solar power back to the grid that is "transparent and fair" to customers without home PV. And in Hawaii, Hawaii Electric faced huge challenges after an explosion in PV and began requiring PV integration studies in many cases before new home solar could be connected.

Some solutions are being puzzled out: Australian researchers see transactive energy curing solar woes. And EPRI just developed a new framework to determine and evaluate costs, benefits and challenges of integrating distributed energy resources (DER), including DG, microgrids and energy storage, into the planning and running of the grid.

Not everyone agrees that paying solar users full price for the power they send into the grid is necessarily unfair, including former FERC Chairman Jon Wellinghoff, who told Smart Grid Today such assumptions are missing point.

"Smart grid stakeholders have reached a critical juncture along the path of integrating distributed energy resources (DER)," Modern Markets Intelligence VP of Editorial Brett Brune said. "The uptake of home solar, for example, is impressive in sunny places where power is expensive. But that uptake might be threatened by challenges to the net metering programs that at least helped draw some people to home solar. Our report found the emergence of a couple of sophisticated responses to those challenges. One is transactive energy (TE). With TE, those who place the most burden on the network pay more for energy while those who provide benefits back to the grid get a just proportion of benefits. Another is the germ of a discussion about power distributors moving to a market-based system."

QUOTEABLE: "This whole going after net metering customers, imposing a monthly connection charge is singling out a certain group of residential customers and ignoring entirely that those customers may or may not be the ones who are paying the full level of fixed costs to the system. If a consumer is in fact imposing a cost on the grid and it can be demonstrated that the consumer is imposing a cost, the consumer should pay the cost. Similarly, if they are providing benefit to the grid system they should be compensated for those benefits." – Former FERC Chairman and Stoel Rives Partner John Wellinghoff

Sources for "GROWING PAINS" include:

  • Former FERC Chairman and Stoel Rives Partner John Wellinghoff
  • Bonterra Solar President and Partner and Vice President of Hawaii Solar Energy Assn Christian Adams
  • Energy Networks Assn CEO John Bradley
  • Xcel Colorado Vice President of Rates & Regulatory Affairs Alice Jackson
  • Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organization Manager of Smart Grid Partnerships Mark Paterson
  • Hawaii Island Solar Founder and Hawaii Solar Energy Assn Board Member Gary Ralston
  • Independence Institute Fellow Michael Sandoval
  • Electric Power Research Institute Senior Project Engineer Ben York

The GROWING PAINS report is available for immediate, free download at www.smartgridtoday.com/growing-pains-renewables.

ABOUT SMART GRID TODAY

Smart Grid Today's mission is to deliver daily, unbiased, comprehensive and original reporting on emerging trends, applications and policies driving the modern utility industry – in a signature format our founders have developed over decades in the trade news business, featuring highly concise and easy-to-understand news copy based on trusted reporting, exclusive interviews, informed analysis and strategic insights that our subscribers rely on to succeed every business day. Smart Grid Today is published by Modern Markets Intelligence, Inc.

CONTACTS

Brett Brune
VP of Editorial
Modern Markets Intelligence, Inc.
1-888-907-1113
brett@mminews.com

Season Crawford
VP of Marketing
Modern Markets Intelligence, Inc.
1-888-678-4480
season@mminews.com

 

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