Utility Dive and the Smart Electric Power Alliance partnered for a Twitter chat on Wednesday through #UtilityDiveLive to highlight industry-wide trends in grid edge technology — the catch-all term for connected technologies that pop up outside the electric grid.
The value of identifying trends and patterns in grid modernization has increased as a host of innovations rise in prominence, including electric vehicles, data-driven demand side management, mature renewables and cheaper batteries.
The existing public utility had a monopoly on electric power that society has come to accept. A dedicated energy system independent of the public grid is the solution: https://t.co/MI6pKo34tX #UtilityDiveLive— OOM Energy (@OOM_Energy) October 24, 2018
Whether that is a fair characterization or not, it is understandable that a) utilities & regulators want proof of concept at low risk & b) innovative solution providers have limited patience for “science projects.”— Tanuj Deora (@TanujDeora) October 24, 2018
"Since AMI has come along and the grid has become more decentralized, utilities are moving away from replacing aging infrastructure to improving the grid so it can be, in some cases, a plug-and-play grid," Patty Cook, @ICFEnergy https://t.co/3qVhm2jgM9 #UtilityDiveLive— Larry Pearl (@LarryPearlDC) October 24, 2018
An essential aspect of grid modernization and the integration of grid edge technology has been getting regulators onboard.
This is a central issue. Utilities are just now truly integrating large-scale storage into their IRPs: https://t.co/BhLi4Hh6Sk— Gavin Bade (@GavinBade) October 24, 2018
The next step will be DERs and utilities like @HwnElectric
are trying to figure it out https://t.co/2NRye1RGAH#UtilityDiveLive https://t.co/IPolrzhNna
We continue to develop DER programs and are including them into our IRP plans. Mahalo.— Hawaiian Electric (@HwnElectric) October 24, 2018
The chat prompted a flurry of responses when it came to giving props to utilities focused on collaboration.
Wow. Well- on behalf of @advmicrogrid I guess I'll tag @SCE - @ManalYamout outright told me at @SPIConvention that "all utilities should be more like Southern California Edison" https://t.co/pjuk7z4zzC https://t.co/JbObmtobBI— Iulia Gheorghiu (@IMGheorghiu) October 24, 2018
In our informal Twitter poll, nearly half of the respondents agreed that policy incentives were the leading driver of customer-sited distributed resource adoption.
What is the #1 driver of customer-sited device adoption? Feel free to add if there's something else entirely #UtilityDiveLive— Utility Dive (@UtilityDive) October 24, 2018
Discussing the poll, some participants defined the distributed resources as "consumer products" that happen to have energy impacts.
As a little bit of a tangent, we're (@mrktstrategies) seeing that customers that haven't yet — but are very likely to — adopt consumption management programs focus on comfort in their home. Neither "green" nor "savings" resonate with these customers as primary messages.— KC Boyce (@kcboyce) October 24, 2018
None of the above! Comfort, convenience, coolness... These are consumer products that also have energy impacts.— Matt Golden (@goldenmatt) October 24, 2018
More questions popped up as participants focused on the criteria for "success" for an emerging grid edge technology.
Mostly through cross collaboration, both between utilities, and with utilities and solutions providers, supplemented with case studies.— Tanuj Deora (@TanujDeora) October 24, 2018
And to what extent is the pilot issue a regulatory one — especially for investor-owned utilities? A lot of times, you see a utility wanting to move ahead with a program, but regulators say, first do a pilot. #utilitydivelive— kkaufmann (@kkaufmann) October 24, 2018
Since it's difficult to talk about the future of the grid without taking cybersecurity into account, the Twitter chat turned to the best practices in the industry as participants had questions of their own.
"In theory, a grid with more distributed resources can increase the potential attack surface for adversaries because the capacity of distributed generation, including renewables, has grown exponentially over the last decade," @NERC_Officialhttps://t.co/xHk28rVOTO— catherine morehouse (@cmorehouse10) October 24, 2018
While we got some good responses, we want to keep the conversation going.
Do you have a better answer for any of the questions we were asking? You can still participate with our chat's hashtag and keep the conversation going.