Real-Time Insights are Essential for Distributed Energy

A recent article in Utility Dive asks: “As distributed solar expands, can utility system planning keep up?”

At Utilidata, we’ve long advocated that the traditional methods of system planning will not work for the grid of the future. Traditional methods often rely on the ability to develop accurate predictive models, rather than leverage real-time data. But with distributed generation, variable generation, and electric vehicles, the grid of the future will require a real-time solution.

The article notes:

“No more than a decade ago, planning was a matter of historical loads, load growth forecasts, and proposals to build new central station generation when it was needed.

That was then. Now, system planners face an emerging dynamic environment in which traditional generation is becoming less cost-competitive and integrating variable utility-scale renewables into the grid can be challenging.”

This is one of the challenges our technology is designed to help address.

How Can We Fix It?

Utilidata’s Signal Intelligence Engine (SIe) is the first and only software platform to capture signals from existing devices on the distribution grid continuously, every 5-15 seconds. This real-time approach means that we’re able to regulate voltage in real-time but also optimize grid conditions for efficiency and stability.

This is especially important when addressing the volatility that is caused by distributed energy sources – especially those like solar and wind that are far more intermittent than traditional generation sources.

As our Chief Scientist, David Bell, noted in a previous post, “we could model the expected output of energy from a solar array, but we cannot predict the exact pattern of cloud covering, the size and shape of every cloud, or the intensity of the sun on a specific day.”

What Does That Mean for Utilities?

With our real-time solution, utilities will be able to manage the system and plan based on real-time, accurate data. When it comes to system planning for distributed solar – and distributed energy resources overall – our technology enables utilities to:

  • Plan for DER-siting based on grid conditions;
  • Identify previously undetected DER installations; and
  • Direct grid devices to compensate for the volatility of variable generation, maintaining grid stability.

The challenges of a more distributed energy future are, as the article notes, possible to address with the right tools – like our software.
To learn more about how our solution can help integrate DERs and plan for the grid of the future, contact us today.