ACEEE Report Explores Energy Efficiency’s Role in Distributed Energy

community microgrids distributed energy

Grid Modernization, Energy Efficiency, and Distributed Energy Resources

Written by Gita Subramony, ERS, for Zondits, March 14, 2018

It is becoming increasingly vital that utilities take into account energy efficiency and distributed energy resources in system planning. States differ widely on regulations surrounding utility infrastructure, and ACEEE recently released a report surveying utilities across the United States on how the changing energy landscape is affecting grid modernization and system planning.

The ACEEE study (quoted below) cites the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s list of goals associated with grid modernization:

  • Increase grid reliability and resilience
  • Develop and integrate renewable and distributed energy resources (as defined independently by various jurisdictions)
  • Reduce costs and otherwise enhance societal benefits for customers, utilities, and grid operators
  • Enhance customer service and choice
  • Save energy, reduce peak demand, or optimize load/demand shapes
  • Optimize existing generation and T&D systems
  • Modernize/accommodate new technologies
  • Animate new or existing markets through a grid platform
  • Enhance safety and security
  • Reduce emissions
  • Support workforce and economic development
  • Facilitate integrated planning

The report points to several state examples (including New York and California, among others) where efficiency and DER planning are part of state regulatory proceedings. In some of these same regions, efficiency and distributed generation assets are being analyzed for their time and locational value as well as their ability to defer construction of new infrastructure.

Overall, the study found that most utilities are not using efficiency and DERs as a resource as optimally as they could, but places like New York and California offer road maps or examples on how a state might go about it. Read the study or read about how CHP in New York can be a non-wires solution.


The Role of Energy Efficiency in a Distributed Energy Future

Written by Brendon Baatz, Grace Relf, and Seth Nowak
Report published by ACEEE, February 28, 2018

Many state regulatory commissions are engaged in proceedings to modernize the electric grid. These proceedings include a heavy focus on updating system planning processes to reflect growth in distributed generation and other technological advances. Our report examines current distribution system and distributed resource planning. We analyze how states are incorporating energy efficiency into these plans, focusing on states that are actively using efficiency as a resource.