- The Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission's Division of Public Utilities and Carriers is taking comment until Sept. 1 on the initial proposals submitted as part of the distribution system planning (DSP) process.
- The state is attempting to take on broad questions about the integration of renewables, and earlier this year launched a Power Sector Transformation proceeding to look at grid modernization.
- Among the DSP initial proposals is the creation of an "implementation road map" for heat maps and hosting capacity maps, to provide insight into the locational impact and benefit of distributed resources.
Rhode Island, like several other states, is trying to get ahead of changes to the electric grid. The state is in the initial stages of a modernization proceeding that will focus on how distributed resources can be accommodated and utilized.
"Not only are customers impacting the system in new – and potentially significant – ways, but they are also now able to become part of the solution set to address grid needs through their own investment choices," the PUC noted in planning documents issued ahead of a stakeholder meeting this week.
Other initial proposals include: establishing specifications for and a process to update a Rhode Island System Data Portal; establishing a process to integrate inclusion and review of DSP forecasts into applicable existing dockets; and aligning and integrating planning processes for the distribution system, capital projects, and non-wires alternatives "to comprehensively consider DER opportunities."
Rhode Island is the nation's smallest state, but it has aggressive renewables goals. Last year the state extended its renewable energy portfolio standard from 14.5% by 2019 to 38.5% by 2035, aiming to make good on its significant wind potential. Seeing an increase of renewable energy on the horizon, regulators are now tackling broad questions designed to ease the integration of the resource.
The state first passed its renewable standard in 2004, and supporters of the expanded goal say growing wind power in Rhode Island could save power customers $240 million by 2050.