Evaluating Grid Modernization Plans Now Easier with New IREC and GridLab Tool
The Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) and GridLab today announce the release of A Playbook for Modernizing the Distribution Grid; Volume I: Grid Modernization Goals, Principles and Plan Evaluation Checklist (“GridMod Playbook”) — an evaluation toolkit to ensure that efforts to modernize the U.S. electricity grid are more efficient and impactful.
The GridMod Playbook provides a framework to help regulatory stakeholders navigate, analyze and make more informed decisions about grid modernization proposals, plans and investments. This resource, the first volume in a series, articulates key goals and principles for grid modernization and presents an evaluation checklist for assessing the merits of proposed grid modernization efforts.
“The Playbook will help stakeholders and regulators determine whether or not grid modernization plans and investments are compatible with and supportive of critical public policy objectives—including the expansion of renewable energy, the decarbonization of the electricity system and the beneficial electrification of the transportation and building sectors,” said co-author Sara Baldwin, Vice President, Regulatory for IREC.
The Playbook is particularly relevant given that over 150 states, local governments and prominent businesses have adopted ambitious renewable and clean energy goals to address climate change and improve grid resilience, and utilities across the country are making investments in and plans for the grid that will impact the achievement of these goals.
“This new resource will help stakeholders assure prudent use of funds by electric utilities, which are proposing investments that add up to tens of billions of ratepayer dollars in the coming years,” said co-author Ric O’Connell, Executive Director of GridLab.
Considerable investments in the grid will be needed in the coming decades to address aging infrastructure and changing demands on the electricity grid; however, not all investments may be warranted or beneficial, either from an economic or carbon reduction standpoint.
“Grid modernization plans and investment proposals are complex regulatory filings, full of technical jargon and acronyms. The Playbook helps demystify these plans by providing a clear evaluation framework, assessment questions, glossary of terms and specific examples for easy reference,” said Curt Volkmann, President of New Energy Advisors and co-author.
As more utilities and states undertake efforts to modernize the grid with new technologies and infrastructure, the Playbook will provide a key navigational tool to enable the swift evolution of the grid and support public policy and clean energy objectives.
The GridMod Playbook can be accessed on the IREC and GridLab websites at https://irecusa.org/publications/ and https://gridlab.org/publications/. On May 20, 2020, IREC and GridLab hosted a webinar, for interested parties to learn more about the key takeaways of the Playbook and have their questions answered. You can watch the recorded webinar here!