Optimizing your Smart Utility – a Roadmap to Success

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In my last post, I described how an Advanced Distribution Management Systems (ADMS) – a convergence of SCADA, DMS, OMS, EMS, and DSM functions – is an essential ingredient in achieving and maximizing the benefits offered by Distributed Generation (DG), Energy Storage (ES), Distributed Energy Resources (DER), and microgrids.  However, before these benefits can be achieved by the utility, proper preparation is essential to ensure that ADMS can be utilized to its full extent.

Proper Preparation

A complete, correct and current network model is a fundamental ADMS requirement.  There are essential steps required to meet this requirement, as detailed in my white paper on this topic.

In addition, proper preparation includes developing a thorough understanding of these new sources of distributed energy and storage, including their location on the feeder, expected output range, how load served by them is consumed, the requirements for criticality and quality of delivered power to these loads, and the mechanisms for transactive energy – selling required power and purchasing oversupplies of power – when the assets are not owned by the utility. Meetings between utility and asset owning/operating stakeholders are essential to confirm requirements and achieve alignment regarding system metering, communications and control systems, expected amounts of energy exchanged, as well as options for implementing a suitable rate structure.

Next, for more accurate power forecasting of existing assets it is important to correlate historical load and production vs. historical weather conditions, since ADMS uses data supplied by accurate weather forecasting systems to forecast both production from renewables and load and to calculate the forecasted costs/benefits of ES, DER, and microgrid operation.

Furthermore, ADMS also provides the capability for monitoring and managing multiple DG, ES, DER, and microgrids, including the critical process of microgrid islanding and reconnection.

Building Your Smart Grid Roadmap

While ADMS is a key solution for meeting Smart Grid challenges, it is important to be sure that it is a planned solution and part of your utility’s overall Smart Grid roadmap.  A comprehensive Smart Grid roadmap must contain an assessment of a utility’s business drivers and corresponding technology requirements.

To build a Smart Grid Roadmap, utilities must define roles and responsibilities, conduct workshops to determine and validate drivers and requirements, define priorities through a business case, document the Smart Grid roadmap, and communicate the roadmap internally and externally as applicable. The roadmap should include identified phases of Smart Grid device and software implementation, as well as the associated steps for proper preparation.  A comprehensive Smart Grid roadmap is essential to identify how to best fit ADMS into a utility’s business environment.


To satisfy challenging Smart Grid goals, utility companies must implement systems that integrate automation, metering, demand response, DG, ES, DER and microgrids and provide analytical capabilities. ADMS facilitates the intersection of operations and information technology, and can serve to utilize meter data, analyze system data, control distribution automation, trigger demand response, and optimize DG, ES, DER and microgrids to provide reliable, safe and efficient power in the presence of variable renewable resources. Smart utilities, following a detailed Smart Grid roadmap, must ensure that systems are properly and securely integrated, share data throughout the enterprise, and act proactively based on this data, powered by ADMS.

All of this is all explained in greater detail in an article I wrote on this topic: Optimizing the Smart Utility, and view a recent webinar I delivered:  Management of Distributed Energy Resources and Microgrids using Advanced DMS.

Schneider Electric Webinar on demand

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