Meeting #49 - Integrated Distribution Planning 

Tuesday, March 13, 2018                  Online registration here

District of Columbia Public Service Commission, Washington, D.C.

Final agenda (pdf)

In recent years, electric utilities in PJM and elsewhere have seen a rapid increase in the deployment of small-scale, grid-connected distributed energy resources (DERs) – including energy efficiency, demand response and flexible loads, distributed generation (primarily solar photovoltaic systems), energy storage systems, and electric vehicles. Deployment of these DERs is expected to increase in coming years. In most cases, the utilities do not own or control these DERs, and in some cases they do not even have knowledge of the DER’s existence, location, capabilities, and status (i.e., “visibility”).

These trends are leading to new challenges for utilities in planning their infrastructure investments and managing power quality at the level of the distribution system. The challenges are distinctly different from the large-scale generation and transmission challenges that are typically addressed by PJM in regional planning processes. For example, adding 10 kilowatts of solar generating capacity to PJM’s 177 gigawatt network would have no discernible impact on generation or transmission system needs, and thus have no impact on regional plans, but it might create significant power quality challenges for the low voltage circuit to which the generator is interconnected. A few jurisdictions in the US have begun experimenting with integrated distribution planning mechanisms that seek to methodically anticipate such challenges and find least-cost solutions for addressing them.

The MADRI steering committee has decided to focus this meeting and several upcoming meetings on the topic of integrated distribution planning, with the goal of ultimately developing a Commission Guide to inform the actions of state public utility commissions and other stakeholders. Today’s meeting will launch this effort. It will begin with expert presentations on some of the relevant planning issues, and end with a moderated discussion of how the MADRI community might develop such a Guide including a discussion of an outline and subtopics. Interested stakeholders are welcomed to participate in the discussion and to submit materials for consideration in the Guide.


9:30 – 10:00am            Networking with attendees

10:00 – 10:15am          Introductions
The Honorable Betty Ann Kane, Chairman, DC Public Service Commission
Janine Migden-Ostrander, Regulatory Assistance Project

10:15 – 11:15am          Overview of Integrated Distribution Planning Concepts and State Activity
Lisa Schwartz, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

With infrastructure aging, DER deployment rapidly growing, and grid modernization technologies promising greater reliability and resilience – and more consumer options – interest in long-term planning for electric distribution systems is on the rise. We’ll start our day with a presentation from one of the authors of a new report for US DOE, State Engagement in Electric Distribution System Planning. The report documents activities in 16 states, including eight with statutory or public utility commission requirements for electric distribution system or grid modernization plans. The report also looks at activities in several additional states to provide a picture of the significant variation in approaches. Ms. Schwartz leads training on distribution system planning for public utility commissions under DOE’s Grid Modernization Laboratory Consortium.

11:15am – 12:15pm     Hosting Capacity Analyses
Sara Baldwin Auck, IREC
Steve Steffel, Pepco Holdings

One important aspect of distribution system planning is understanding the ability of the existing system to safely interconnect and integrate additional DERs. Some utilities are now conducting hosting capacity” analyses and developing maps that show where DERs can and cannot be added without significant system upgrades. This session will provide regional and national examples of this kind of analysis and lessons learned.

12:15 – 1:00pm             Lunch

 1:00 – 1:30pm              Implementing the New IEEE 1547 Interconnection Standard in PJM States
Andrew Levitt, PJM

PJM began working with select State Commissions and utilities in 2017 in anticipation of the 2018 release of a revised “IEEE 1547” interconnection standard for distributed energy resources. While the IEEE 1547 standard addresses many functions in the “smart inverter” category, PJM’s focus is on the important, but narrow, “ride through” function. The work that states undertake to guide utility implementation of the new IEEE 1547 standard will significantly influence any efforts to conduct integrated distribution system planning. Mr. Levitt will update us on PJM’s work to date, describe the importance of “ride through” for DER integration, how the revised IEEE 1547 standard might be implemented by PJM and by states, and plans for future work.

1:30 – 3:00pm              GROUP DISCUSSION: MADRI Guide on Integrated Distribution Planning
Moderated by Janine Migden-Ostrander, Regulatory Assistance Project

We will finish the day with a moderated group discussion about developing a consensus MADRI Guide on Integrated Distribution Planning. The goals for this discussion include defining the scope, outline and schedule for such a paper, identifying volunteers to work on research and drafting, and agreeing to a process for using upcoming MADRI meetings to review, refine, and ultimately finalize the paper.

3:00 – 3:15pm              Wrap-Up, Adjournment
The Honorable Betty Ann Kane, Chairman, DC Public Service Commission
Janine Migden-Ostrander, Regulatory Assistance Project

Remote Participation

Web address:

Meeting number: 622 116 418

Meeting password: madri0313pjm

Teleconference call-in:
1-866-398-2885 (US)

Participant passcode: 555398