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Soaking Up the Sun: Advanced DMS and Weather Forecasting Make Renewables More Viable

Electric utilities are at a crossroads. New regulatory requirements and energy demands are placing an increased pressure on utilities to aggressively incorporate renewable sources into generation portfolios. In light of these pressures, our customers are turning to distributed energy resources (DER), an up and coming source of power. DERs are becoming a key focus in the smart grid world today, aiding our customers in generating and distributing renewable energy.

DERs can be divided into two categories: Active and passive. Active DERs include energy generation sources like wind, solar, combined heating and power (CHP) and microhydro energy. Passive DERs consist of storage technologies like batteries and compressed air or gas storage systems. To integrate DERs as a power source, distribution systems need to both radiate power down from that same centralized source and manage power coming in from additional DER sources.

Despite challenges, integrating renewable DERs can be plausible and safe, but only in conjunction with advanced technology that controls when and how much load will be transferred throughout the distribution grid. An advanced distribution management system (ADMS) is one such technology option. An ADMS provides a host of analytical tools that recommend the most optimal system operations, or even control automated device operations.

This maximizes the network efficiently and reliably while mitigating the risk of renewable energy resources. An ADMS also allows our utilities to rapidly and safely solve the numerous advanced equations that are crucial to determine how much power is needed so that it is available at all times. By calculating the amount of distributed generation that is powering different loads at different locations, including the current voltage and power flow in the system, an ADMS presents a clear, real time picture of the grid to our customers.

An ADMS helps to solve the problem of integrating renewable resources through analytical tools that provide planning for and recommend optimal device operations to maximize network efficiency and reliability, mitigating the risk of renewable energy resources. ADMS and weather system integration allows an accurate prediction of the contribution of renewables, allowing our customers to optimize DERs so they can provide power reliably and safely. Overall, ADMS technology enables our customers and all other utilities to integrate DER while minimizing the negative operational impacts, making distributed renewable energy more viable and ensuring a brighter future for all.

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