DG Update

Has DG (distributed generation) gone quiet, or mainstream, or both?  Meanwhile, the DOE program has not done well in the proposed budget.  Congressional earmarks are taking up so much money that DOE is forced to cancel some ongoing DG applications projects.

 Here are some developments and updates.

 – DUIT Facility Up and Running 
 – CADER Meeting  Jan. 2004
 – IEEE 1547 Interconnection Standards
 – PG&E DG Interconnection program


Distributed Utility Integration Test Facility

The Distributed Utility Integration Test (DUIT) is the first full-scale, integration test of commercial-grade, utility grid interactive Distributed Energy Resources (DER) in the U.S.  DUIT addresses a key technical issue: electrical implications of operating multiple, diverse DERs at high penetration levels within a utility distribution system.  DUIT’s test plan is intended to focus on grid interaction, integration and aggregation issues, not on DER technology itself. 

After an exhaustive study of program goals and alternative sites, DOE selected the facilities at PG&E’s Modular Generation Test Facility in San Ramon, CA as the home of the new DUIT Facility.  Pre existing buildings, labs and professional staff helped make the choice, along with the adjacent test substation and high-current yard.  The site held an official opening ceremony in August 2003.

The facility offers a realistic yet controlled laboratory environment, enabling  testing of normal and abnormal operational conditions without interfering with a customer’s electric service. DG equipment at the site is commercially available and all on loan to the project from the vendors:  Inverters, rotating machinery, and generation and storage devices. DUIT provides a full-scale multi-megawatt implementation, testing and demonstration of distributed generation technologies in a realistic utility installation.

Utilities may want to take note that DUIT will be confirming and testing to the newly passed IEEE 1547 Interconnection standard, which is expected to be adopted by a large number of state regulators and legislators. Similarly, for California, DUIT will  be testing to the Rule 21 document.

To inquire about prospective DUIT project participation, technical specifications, test plans, project plans or the DUIT white paper, contact the DUIT Project Team.  Reports will be issued by CEC and other sponsors beginning this Summer, and information will be available on the DUIT website:

Susan Horgan, DUIT Project Leader
    Distributed Utility Associates

For the complete history:
"DUIT: Distributed Utility Integration Test", NREL/SR-560-34389, August 2003 (250 pages)


CADER (California Alliance for Distributed Energy Resources)

The 2004 DG conference in San Diego on January 26-28, 2004 had 202 attendees.

Presentations are posted on CADER’s website at or go directly to:

The draft DG-DER Cost and Benefit Primer was developed as a first step to support the discussions at the "Costs and Benefits of DER" session at the Conference on January 26-28, 2004. Comments about the document can be provided via the CADER member list-server to reach all members.


IEEE 1547 Update

As you know, "IEEE 1547 Standard for Interconnecting Distributed Resources with Electric Power Systems" was approved by the IEEE Standards Board in June 2003. It was approved as an American National Standard in October 2003. (available for purchase from IEEE:

SCC21 develops and coordinates new IEEE standards and maintains existing standards developed under past SCC21 projects. These include the original 1547, along with the four spinoff efforts.

> P1547.1 Conformance Test Procedures for Equipment Interconnecting Distributed Resources with Electric Power Systems (EPS)  (draft standard)

> P1547.2 Draft Application Guide for the IEEE 1547 Standard

> P1547.3 Monitoring, Information Exchange, and Control of Distributed Resources Interconnected with EPS (draft guide)

> P1547.4 Design, Operation, and Integration of Distributed Resource Island Systems with EPS  (draft guide)

#1 and 2 have drafts out to their working groups for review.  #1 expects to be ready for ballot early in 2005.
#3 has just completed a draft.
#4 has just been approved as a new initiative, and will be organized over the coming summer.

Complete information is available at:

The next meeting of the IEEE 1547 series working groups will be April 20-22, 2004 in San Francisco. The P1547.1, P1547.2, and P1547.3 working groups will meet concurrently 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. Working groups will be meeting separately – no plenary session is planned.  Details at:


PG&E DG Interconnection program

PG&E held a Distributed Generation (DG) Workshop last December 10. The free event provided PG&E customers and the DG community with practical information on how to navigate the various Electric Rule 21 application and interconnection review processes – from initial application through to permission to parallel with PG&E’s electric distribution system. The focus of the workshop was to communicate PG&E’s internal DG processes and interconnection technical requirements to the DG community. (For details on California’s Rule 21, see:

PG&E has set up an entire cross-company team to deal with all aspects of DG interconnection in a coordinated way.  They appear to be very committed to low hassle, low cost, minimum time for DG projects. A great deal of information about PG&E’s program, (including the 117 page powerpoint from the workshop) is available at:

Jerry Jackson, Team Leader

PS- Jerry’s office generously offers to send a hard copy on request of the nearly 2 inch thick binder that was handed out at the workshop.

       ———CALIFORNIA RULE 21 ——-

After passing Rule 21 in Dec 2000, California PUC established, and the CEC coordinated, a working group of all DG stakeholders. Electric Rule 21 Working Group meetings have been held about once a month since mid 2001.  The purpose is to establish procedures and work through issues to simplify and expedite interconnection projects.  (Agenda and minutes are at:

  California Interconnection Guidebook
  Publication # 500-03-083F
  PDF file, 94 pages, 1.1 megabytes) online November 13, 2003.

The Guidebook is intended to help a person or project team interconnect one or more electricity generators to the local electric utility grid in California under California Rule 21. Rule 21 applies only to the three electric utilities in California that are under jurisdiction of the California PUC: PG&E, SCE, and SDG&E. The Guidebook is written as an aid to interconnection in these utility areas. It may also be useful for interconnection in some municipal utility areas with interconnection rules resembling Rule 21, principally Riverside, SMUD, and the LADWP.


Recommended:   DG Monitor, a free email newsletter from Resource Dynamics Corp. Archive and subscription at:

CPUC OIR–Deregulate Elec. Distribution???

**(note proposal below, and let me know of your interest)***

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) is about to embark on what may become the most far-reaching restructuring process to date. Motivated in large part by the advent of distributed resources (small generation and storage technologies) and the California Alliance for Distributed Energy Resources (CADER), the CPUC will evaluate over the next 12 months the rules for the distribution systems of the future.

Topics will include the role of wires companies, true retail access, whether the wires should remain a monopoly, and whether distribution companies can own or operate distributed generation and storage. The results could dramatically alter some of the most important aspects of AB1890, define the distributed technology market rules in California, and influence similar discussions now heating up in other states and on the federal level.

At its regular meeting on Dec 17, the CPUC issued an “OIR”:

R.98-12-015, “Order Instituting Rulemaking to Consider
Commission Reforms in the Structure and Regulatory Framework
Governing Electricity Distribution Service”

The full text is available online:
(in HTML, Word, or PDF format)

>>> The Summary and Rulemaking Questions are attached below. <<<<<

*******”OIR Watch Proposal”***********

Obviously, utilities in California will be heavily involved (they’re named as respondents). The rest of the country will probably want to pay close attention to this entire discussion, as lengthy and voluminous as it is likely to be.

Distributed Utility Associates (founding members of CADER and a leading consultant in distributed resources) is considering a plan to prepare concise monthly reviews of the CPUC Distribution System Order Instituting Rulemaking (OIR), and to interpret its progress, direction and interpreting its importance.

The rulemaking’s implications could include new definitions of distribution companies, new business opportunities or exclusions for wires companies, needs for new or revised energy technologies and set the pace of distributed resources market entry.

In addition, a final synopsis on the resulting rulemaking and its implications on the electric utility industry could be issued at the conclusion of the twelve to fifteen month process. This would be offered as a subscription package.

Pricing is to be determined, probably in the range of $5,000, assuming a sufficient number of subscribers. UFTO Client Companies would be eligible to subscribe at a substantial discount.

Please let me know how this idea strikes you, and what your level of interest might be.


By this order, we open a rulemaking proceeding to consider whether the Commission should pursue reforms in the structure and regulatory framework governing electricity distribution service. The purpose of this proceeding is to gather additional information to assist us in framing proposals to the Legislature and our stakeholders for whatever reforms may be necessary in light of current developments in California’s electric industry.

This rulemaking will provide the opportunity for the Commission to begin consulting with the Legislature and collaborating with the Administration, interested stakeholders, and other state/local agencies who may have jurisdiction or interest in electric distribution and generation issues. In particular, we believe that our consideration of issues focusing on distributed generation and/or distribution competition will benefit from a collaborative effort among the Commission, the California Energy Commission (CEC), and the California Electricity Oversight Board (EOB). This process will allow us to work with these parties to identify the range of issues on distributed generation and distribution competition, and their interrelationships; explore whether we should undertake a focused analysis of distributed generation or a more comprehensive consideration of distribution competition issues; and determine those issues we can address more narrowly and more expeditiously. At the end of this process, we anticipate issuing a proposal that reflects our coordination with the CEC and the EOB, outlining the specific steps we will undertake, in cooperation with the Legislature, in addressing the issues and considering proposed changes in our regulatory policies and rules.

We solicit comments and proposals regarding the scope and substance of issues that need to be addressed, possible policy options, and the procedural steps that the Commission could pursue in adopting and implementing needed reforms that are consistent with the state’s goals and objectives in electric restructuring. We invite responses to our questions in Appendix A of this rulemaking. Respondents shall and interested parties may file opening comments on or before March 17, 1999, and reply comments on or before May 17, 1999. Given the collaborative efforts we intend to undertake with the CEC and the EOB in this proceeding, respondents and interested parties should also provide copies of their comments to these two agencies. We intend to consider a proposal from the Assigned Commissioner in the summer of 1999.


Rulemaking Questions

From a policy perspective, does consideration of DG necessarily require a broader, more comprehensive look at distribution competition and the role of the UDC?

Where has competition, as it relates to distribution, emerged or not emerged in California? Has there been growth in irrigation, municipal, and other public utility districts in the existing service areas of the UDCs? What has been the market penetration of DG, self-generation, and T&D substitutes in California?

Is there a need for further reforms in the structure and regulatory framework governing electricity distribution service, in light of current market developments described in your response to Q2 above? If so, what are they? What is the UDC’s ultimate role in this restructured energy market?

How would competition in distribution service be effected? Please give specific examples or scenarios manifesting competition in distribution facilities and/or services. What is the Commission’s role and the roles of other state/local agencies?

How would the integrity, reliability, safety, and efficiency of the T&D system be affected by a more competitive electric distribution and/or DG market? Please provide policy options.

What are the regulatory jurisdictional effects, if any, of allowing more competition in distribution and/or DG? Please provide policy options.

Provide an assessment of the possible environmental impacts of increased competition in distribution and/or DG. Please provide policy options.

Provide an assessment of the possible social, economic, and labor impacts, including implications for public purpose programs (i.e., energy efficiency and low-income programs), of increased competition in distribution and/or DG. Please provide policy options.

What are the ratemaking consequences of introducing or encouraging more competition in distribution and/or DG? Please provide policy options.

Describe the potential costs of promoting competition in distribution and/or DG? What are the potential stranded costs? What are the benefits? How should the potential costs and benefits be analyzed and quantified?

Does competition in electric distribution service have implications on the delivery infrastructure for natural gas? Please describe any such interrelationship and the resulting impacts on customer benefits, the environment, and regulatory structure?

What procedural steps should be pursued? Should there be a more focused analysis of DG issues, or a more comprehensive consideration of issues surrounding distribution competition? Are there issues which are more appropriately considered in workshops, full panel hearings, and/or other procedural forums?

CURC Technology Exchange Conference

(note–I am tentatively planning to attend. EB)

November 3-5, 1997
La Jolla Hyatt Regency
San Diego, California

For the first time ever, the California Utility Research Council (CURC) is hosting a comprehensive conference to present energy technology trends in California and exciting RD&D collaboration opportunities.

(For those unfamiliar with CURC, it is comprised of the CPUC, CEC, and California utilities. Established several years ago to coordinate utility R&D in the state, CURC was asked by CEC Commissioner David Rohy to host an event designed to present technology activities, trends, and collaboration opportunities related to California’s interests.)

Restructuring of the electric and gas industries in California has had a dramatic effect on the energy RD&D landscape in California. Previously, most of this work was funded by ratepayers and managed by the four largest investor-owned California utilities: PG&E, SCE, SDG&E, and SoCalGas. Supplemental funding for California RD&D interests was provided by GRI, EPRI, and DOE.

Restructuring is changing how RD&D will be done in California, creating many new opportunities for collaboration. Most notable is the effect of California legislation (AB1890) recently passed in California which has made available $62.5 million per year for public interest energy RD&D activities. In addition, some utilities will continue to fund RD&D activities using ratepayer benefits. Overall, ratepayer-funded RD&D is on the decline as utilities continue to prepare themselves for competition under performance-based ratemaking. Finally, shareholder-funded technology development opportunities are abound for energy companies seeking a competitive advantage.

Purpose: The 1997 CURC Technology Exchange Conference will provide participants with an overview of technology trends and energy RD&D collaboration activities which benefit California. The conference will present collaboration opportunities and update participants on the implementation of the California PIER (Public Interest Energy Research) program. Participants will also have an opportunity to network directly with peers and funding agencies who are active with energy technologies.

Speakers will include CPUC and CEC commissioners, representatives of the major California utilities, Federal agency officials, equipment vendors, and R&D and technology investment specialists.

There will also be a poster/table session for presentations of relevant technologies and services.

Who Should Attend:
Engineers, scientists, investors, inventors, RD&D policymakers, government representatives, product and business development specialists.

Though the emphasis is clearly on the California situation, all interested parties from around the country (and world) are encouraged to attend, both for collaborative opportunities, and to understand how public interest issues are being addressed, as a model for what might happen elsewhere.

To be put on the mailing list for the agenda and registration forms, contact:

David Berokoff, So. Calif. Gas Co.
fax (213)244-8242