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DER Hosting Capacity discussion

DER Hosting Capacity discussion

DER Hosting Capacity discussion

I thought I'd open a thread to discuss ideas for hosting capacity evaluations for distributed energy resources (DER) on utility distribution systems. I know it'd be of great use to me, and perhaps to any other planning engineers out there. First, I'm curious, is anyone thinking of how these might be performed, or has anyone already performed such an analysis? I don't see a great need for it today, but it is coming and I'd like to be prepared. Below are some high level thoughts I have for which I would welcome any suggestions.

1. General Process
I'm thinking we must essentially go through an iterative process of placing generation at every node/bus (or perhaps in some distance increment), perform a load flow study, and determine the voltage, current, power, power factor at every other bus. In order to determine the maximum amount of generation a particular location can handle, we must additionally perform several simulations per bus in some discrete generation kW output increment. Per bus, the results for each generation increment scenario are evaluated. The maximum generation sized allowed at the bus is that which results in no criterion violation (does not impose objectionable voltage anywhere else, does not result in thermal overload of any equipment, etc).

2. Display of results
A heat or contour map may be developed which describes, per bus/node/line segment, the maximum generation kW that can be placed there. Or perhaps a three dimensional plot per feeder... the node upon which generation is placed goes on the X axis, the calculated parameter (voltage, current) on the Y axis, and the magnitude of generation on the Z axis.

3. Tools
What sort of tools could be used to aid our evaluation? I am currently playing with OpenDSS. Is there a better one out there? I know EPRI touts the use of OpenDSS for these evaluations, but I am not finding much literature on the technical details of their process. Is anyone aware of a tutorial that goes into greater depth? I envision developing some sort of ranking or index system that describes max generation per element, and sending that data to our GIS group to put it into a more attractive visual format.

4. Automating the Process
For an entire system, it would be time consuming and laborious to check each spot with multiple scenarios manually. Some sort of script must be developed (one of the reasons I chose OpenDSS for this functionality). How on earth do we begin that?

5. Other
Should we somehow be considering an economic component in addition to the technical?

I have found two references to be useful that others might... EPRI's "Stochastic Analysis to Determine Feeder Hosting Capacity for Distributed Solar PV" and NREL's "Treatment of Solar Generation in Electric Utility Resource Planning."

This subject is of great interest to me, and I'm finding there's a lot of unknowns. Maybe we can figure some of them out.

RE: DER Hosting Capacity discussion

I recently saw a presentation by a HECO engineer that used Synergi and the California PUC has some great info on how three utilities did their analysis http://www.cpuc.ca.gov/General.aspx?id=5071. I can't find the link anymore, but somewhere there is an interactive map of California showing the hosting capacity of every feeder.

A large part of modeling DER is figuring out what kind of voltage regulation services the DER will require. With the old paradigm of requiring zero reactive output and tripping on abnormal conditions, the amount of DER is pretty limited. If inverters provided voltage control 24x7 and stay online for most abnormal system conditions, feeders could accommodate several times the amount of solar. For studies being run right now, do you use assume the inverters of yesterday or the inverters of 5 years from now?

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