More and more, as utilities face decreasing margin between system load and system capacity, they are in need of innovative smart grid solutions that can help them effectively disperse and store energy and manage load to meet resource requirements. Many are incorporating Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) to help fill the gap while, at the same time, meet requirements for reduced emissions and energy independence; these utilities will require the capability to accurately forecast and control DER contribution to the network, to assure security and grid reliability.
Advanced smart grid software designed to support DER management and optimize grid operations and planning works with a real-time network model, based on an accurate geodatabase and incorporating data from operational systems such as a supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system and outage management system (OMS). Along with real-time visualization and monitoring of network status, this Advanced Distribution Management System – ADMS – provides a host of analytical tools that recommend the most optimal device operations, or optionally automate device operations, to maximize network efficiency and reliability. For example, the utility can apply Volt/VAR control to reduce feeder voltage automatically with no effect on the consumer. Detailed load profiling and load forecasting based on integrated weather feeds yield network load forecasting for effective renewables integration. Network simulation helps forecast medium-term and long-term load and supports effective development and planning.
ADMS functionality and tools are demonstrating that utilities can effectively manage demand without building large-scale generation.