Electric Distribution Feeder Analytics and Distributed Energy Resource Integration

First energy analysis results for feeder modeling
First energy analysis results for feeder modeling

The Electric Power Distribution Modeling and Simulation for Feeder Analytics and Distributed Energy Resource Integration (Feeder Analytics Project) is a research project with the purpose to create new tools and concepts for the advancement of distribution feeder analytics and has used data collected by FirstEnergy through other research projects.   Specifically, the work is developing advanced analytical applications that will help FirstEnergy analyze and integrate load, energy storage and distributed generation onto the electric distribution system.     

FirstEnergy is interested in the Feeder Analytics Project because distributed resource interconnection requests are increasing at the FirstEnergy operating companies.   These distributed resource (DR) interconnection requests include photovoltaic installations, wind installations and installations of energy storage to participate in the ancillary services markets.   The total photovoltaic (PV) capacity of the United States is experiencing continual growth, with anticipated new installations reaching almost 9,000 MW in the year 2015.   Local distribution system impact is considerable in areas such as California and Hawaii where PV capacity exceeds 10% of a typical day peak.   In the case of FirstEnergy some feeders' PV capacity is approximately 8% of a typical day peak, and new PV installations are expected to pose an increasing concern on the planning and operation of distribution networks.   Distributed resource interconnection requests at FirstEnergy for PV installations are increasing, as well as requests for wind installations and installations of energy storage to participate in the ancillary service markets.   Furthermore, the IEEE 1547 standard for interconnecting distributed generation has been amended to allow inverter-based generation to actively participate in voltage regulation which introduces the need for more advanced modeling capabilities.

Distribution planners at FirstEnergy are the employees that ensure the delivery of safe and reliable electric power to customers.   Discussions by the Department of Energy and regulators require the distribution operator to engage in accommodation of both load customers and customers with generation capabilities.   Adhering to reliability standards and resolving customer complaints, the distribution planner addresses system protection and maintenance concerns.   The increased penetration of PV and other distributed generation resources causes a changing distribution paradigm that introduces the need for additional simulation tools.

This project aims to provide distribution planners with a tool that creates advanced models of distribution systems.   These models are used to evaluate the impact of new and existing PV systems.   Distribution planners also benefit from having this tool because it offers a simple user interface to obtain simulation results which alleviates the user from needing to learn an additional simulation program.