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:

NRECA DG tools

Follow-up to this item from earlier UFTO Note:
UFTO Note – DOE Distributed Power Review 15 Feb 2002

— NRECA has an aggressive program to support its members to do fuel cell demonstrations, with training, handbooks, databases, and a users group. Coops view DG as “a solution, not as a problem”. Together coops represent the largest “single” utility in the country, with 34 million customers in 46 states. The handbook will be available on the DOE website in the near future, and many more resources are available only to members of NRECA.
Contact Ed Torrero, 703-907-5518,


From the DOE DER Update Newsletter for 10 May 02

Co-Ops Unveil Tool Kit For Interconnection

The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) has developed a collection of new business templates that will help local utilities harness the power of distributed generation. The NRECA tool kit will help utilities establish policies for the interconnection of DG units and assure the safe and reliable operation of the distribution system. “As interest in distributed generation grows, cop-ops must anticipate the effects that its application will have on their systems and the DG tool kit will help them prepare,” said NRECA CEO Glenn English. The project was co-funded by National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corp. and Energy Co-Opportunity. The interconnection tool contains the following resources:

o A Business and Contract Guide for Interconnection to help cooperatives and their employees move smoothly through the interconnection process

o A DG Rates Manual to help each cooperative think through the issues required to design a rate that meets that cooperative’s specific goals; and Consumer Guidelines for Interconnection to educate consumers about the interconnection process

o A Technical Application Guide that provides rules of thumb that engineers at each cooperative can apply to develop detailed technical interconnection requirements that work for their system

o A Model Interconnection Application to be filled out by consumers interested in installing their own generation

o A Model Short Form Interconnection Contract for consumers installing small DG units with a capacity of 3 kW or less

The document “tool kit” is offered at no charge to interested parties and can be found at:

DER Update: Summary of DER-related news and events is published by DOE’s Office of Distributed Energy Resources every two weeks. – email subscription available.

Quite a few documents and online tools for DG are available here (but not sign yet of the NRECA materials):

IEEE 1547 Interconnection Working Group

IEEE SCC21 Working Group
(P1547 Draft Standard For Interconnection)
31 Jan -1 Feb 2002, Arlington, VA.

Held in conjunction with the DOE Distributed Power Program Review [covered in a separate UFTO Note]

Officially established by IEEE Standards and integrated into SCC21, the P1547 project was launched 4/99, and the Working Group (WG) has been on a fast track ever since to get a standard written and accepted by stakeholders in a wide-open consensus process. Relentlessly, meetings have been held 4-6 times a year, around the country.

Complete documentation of 1547 activities can be found at:

An excellent overview and current status as of last Oct can be found in a paper by Dick DeBlasio in the proceedings of the IEEE T&D Expo 2001 (Atlanta). [I have the pdf.]

In the last year, Draft #7 was voted on in March, and #8 by a ‘recirculation’ ballot in October. The voting showed interesting patterns; in particular utilities were divided right down the middle. Other constituencies are clearly in favor. There were two huge flurries of email among WG members debating various points, one just before the Oct ballot, and again just before this meeting. The goal now is to complete Draft #9 and to have a successful ballot on it.

Chairman Dick DeBlasio’s introductory remarks* and charge to the group outlined a key source of the problem–a long list of issues which are most likely not appropriate to deal with in a Technical Standard are nonetheless being brought up repeatedly. People with reservations about impacts on the grid, penetration levels, contractual issues, etc etc. continue, sincerely or otherwise, to raise and debate these issues in the WG. There was also a red herring over a minimum vs. maximum standard — opponents claimed that once enacted 1547 could only be made less restrictive and not more — the truth is that IEEE standards invariably undergo revision time and again, before the ink is dry. A cynic might wonder how much of this concern is sincere, how much is due to misinformation, and how much is simply raw tactics to block DG.

Another complicating factor for the 1547 effort–it is the very first case under IEEE’s newly introduced “open balloting”. This means that any IEEE member can jump in fresh to the process and cast a vote without having been involved in previous discussions. Standards committees have long endured repeat dialogues covering ground that’s been dealt with before, but ballots with anyone able to vote is much more problemmatic.

* This agenda document has the remarks which explain the approach:
* Also see the middle section of Dick’s presentation to the DPP meeting:

New Working Groups

IEEE Standard making recognizes the difference between “shall” and “should” and “may”, and produces three types of documents: Standards, Recommended Practices, and Guides, which reflect these different levels of influence. As many of the issues being piled on to 1547 are more appropriately dealt with the second or third type rather than the first, two new working groups have been established and a third has been proposed. The idea is to strip out of 1547 anything that belongs in a different document, e.g. procedures, applications guidance, safety, etc. (In sheer size, 1547 drafts began at over 500 pages; it’s been shrinking but it’s still far above a length appropriate to a IEEE Technical Standard.)

– IEEE SCC21 P1589 — Draft Standard for Conformance Tests Procedures For Equipment Interconnecting Distributed Resources With Electric Power Systems
– IEEE SCC21 P1608 — Draft Application Guide For “IEEE Draft Standard 1547 Interconnecting Distributed Resources With Electric Power Systems”
– Potential new SCC21 PAR for DR communication/control

(P1589 is also a Standard, but it separates issues of testing from the Standard itself. The numbering may be changed to 1547.1, 1547.2 and 1547.3, to reinforce the association among them.)

After DeBlasio’s opening remarks, the opening session of the WG meeting continued with presentations on the new initiatives. Each of these new working groups are recruiting members at the present time.

P1589 (1547.2) Standard on conformance testing will specify the types of tests to be done to demonstrate compliance with 1547.1, in particular at the factory producing equipment and at commissioning. (It would not deal with post-installation testing, which is a matter between business parties involved in a particular setting.) Contact Jim Daley, 973-966-2474,

P1608 (1547.3) Guide is to facilitate use of 1547, by providing characterizations of DG technologies. The development of this document will draw on dozens of existing resources, including 1547 resource materials, the 1001 IEEE standard for storage technology done in the 80’s (and withdrawn in ’98), various state procedures, utility handbooks, and other materials from EEI and EPRI. Contact Dick Friedman, 703-356-1300,

New Comm/Control (1547.3) Guide will cover equipment and systems for both remote on onsite monitoring and control of DG, supporting a wide variety of transactions among any DG stakeholders. It will include CHP and coordination with building or enterprise energy management systems. Contact Frank Goodman, 650-855-2872,

Back to Draft-Writing

The rest of the first session saw the start of a difficult process of reviewing Draft #8, section by section, going over suggested changes, and deciding which materials could be moved into one or the other of the new documents. It recalled the old saying about laws and sausages, with the added fun of wordsmithing by (very large) committee.

Over the next day and 1/2, significant progress was made, with lots of material removed from the Technical and Test sections and the appendices, for inclusion in 1589 and 1608. A “strawman” for Draft #9 is set for the writing committee to tackle in the next two months. (It was also announced that there will be some adds and drops to the writing committee roster.) A full WG meeting in June will, it is hoped be followed soon with the ballot.
Contact: Dick DeBlasio, 303-384-6452,
Tom Basso, 303-384-6765,

(For background about the start of this effort, see:
UFTO Note – IEEE Stds for DR Interconnection, 09 Jul 1999)

DOE Distributed Power Review

DOE Distributed Power Program
& IEEE Interconnection Working Group

29 Jan ?1 Feb 2002, Arlington, VA.

-Tue/Wed = DOE Distributed Power Program
-Thur/Fri = IEEE SCC21 Working Group [Covered in a separate UFTO Note]
(P1547 Draft Standard For Interconnection)

Distributed Power Program Review

The DPP website has the proceedings (and pdf downloads) for this meeting, and also for the last review meeting held in Golden CO, Oct’01. (box in upper right corner.)

There is a requirement at DOE for “peer review”, so we’re seeing many of these meetings throughout the year. Last fall there was one for Distributed Energy Resources Program (DER), which includes the Distributed Power Program. (This confusing bit of terminology will be cleared up soon with a name change of the latter to something more accurately reflecting the focus on integration of DR in power systems, not DR itself.) OPT is the new entity formed last year to pull together a number of activities from across EREN.

Here is the line-up of these groups on the org chart:
– EREN — Efficiency and Renewable Energy
– OPT — Office of Power Technologies
– DER — Distributed Energy Resources Program
– DPP — Distributed Power Program [name to change]

^^The DER Review was held in DC, 28-30 Nov 2001

^^Proceedings of the 2001 Hydrogen Program Review are posted at:

Other upcoming review meetings:
^^Hydrogen and Fuel Cells — Denver, 6-10 May
(We may try to combine this with an UFTO visit to NREL)
^^Microturbine and Industrial Gas Turbines — Fairfax VA, 12-14 March


Presentations- Introductions and Overviews

Bob Dixon, head of OPT, opened the conference, commenting that September 11 is the main driving force in Washington. Energy security is a high profile part of it, which translates into redoubled interest in DG.

Bill Williams, IEEE-USA government liaison, outlined the many bills in Congress that deal with interconnection at both the bulk and DG level. He also noted that FERC has opened a rule-making for interconnection under 20 MW. (see below).

Richard Brent, Solar Turbines, pleaded the manufacturers’ concerns about there being different policies at every utility, in every state–sometimes different within the same utility. Many of these practices are still based on utility systems and technology of long ago.

Patricia Hoffman, head of DER, commented that just as with any infrastructure, the energy system needs to advance and evolve. One of the roles of DOE is to help bring consistency.

Joe Galdo, who leads the DPP Program, explained DPP’s mission to remove barriers to DG that arise from technology and regulation. The goal is to reduce installation cost, delay and hassle. The strategy is reflected in the array of projects supported, from the IEEE 1547, to system integration, interconnection and control, to institutional and regulatory barriers. A list of subcontracts awarded to date appears at:
See also “Research Activities” for a good overview:

Presentations – Technical Interconnection Standards and Testing

— First up, Dick DeBlasio gave an update on IEEE 1547. See separate UFTO Note on the Working Group meeting.

— Murray Davis of Detroit Edison reported on a study of penetration limits for DG on a distribution feeder. This ranks very high on the list of concerns about widespread deployment of DG. (Davis started with a quick aside that there would be no limit if grids were isolated–he’s submitted a paper to IEEE about this.) They did detailed modeling of two actual feeders using ASPEN and the Distribution WorkStation, and then modeled the impact of various amounts of DG placed at various locations. The striking conclusion, at least for these two particular feeders and for the two variables considered, is that DG penetration (or stiffness ratio, i.e. the amount of the DG compared to the size of the feeder) had no predictive value for when problems (e.g. over/under voltage) would arise. The line length, circuit particulars, and DG device sizes were far more significant. A feeder could accommodate as much as 10 times more total DG if it comes as many small units instead of 1 big one.

— NRECA has an aggressive program to support its members to do fuel cell demonstrations, with training, handbooks, databases, and a users group. Coops view DG as “a solution, not as a problem”. Together coops represent the largest “single” utility in the country, with 34 million customers in 46 states. The handbook will be available on the DOE website in the near future, and many more resources are available only to members of NRECA.
Contact Ed Torrero, 703-907-5518,

— DUIT — Distributed Utility Integration Test – This project is to come up with a plan, including a facility, to do testing of the interaction of DG with the electric system. A key element is the selection of a site or sites for the facility. To that end, a number of sites around the country at utilities and universities were evaluated as candidates. In addition, the Nevada Test Site received particular attention, in view of the extensive inventory of pre-existing buildings and equipment. (The NTS study came up with a conceptual design of a large “pole field” to be used to simulate actual distribution feeders. Rows and rows of utility poles could be patched together to provide everything from a single 30 mile feeder to countless different configurations.) (The DER Test Facility at NREL, which evaluates performance of DG interconnection systems, became operational Dec’01)
Contact Joe Iannucci, Distributed Utility Associates,, 925-447-0604.

— Certification Lab Pilot — EPRI-PEAC’s project is to define a path to “certified grid-compatible DER”. They’re writing an accreditation plan and an interconnection handbook. The effort includes actual testing of interconnection standards. For details, see the pdf download^^^, and:
Contact: Tom Key, 865-218-8082,

— UL Standard for DG – Underwriters Lab is developing a standard for testing DG equipment, combining appropriate safety requirements with interconnection requirements from IEEE 1547, to produce a DG ANSI Standard that can be used to evaluate utility interconnected DG products for both electrical safety and utility interconnection to address the needs of Electrical AHJs and Utility Interconnection Engineers. This document will be UL 1741, The Standard for Inverters, Converters and Controllers for Use In Independent Power. Contact Tim Zgonena, UL, 847-272-8800 ext. 43051,

Presentations – Codes and Regulations

— Regulatory Policy Options for DG — The Regulatory Assistance Project (RAP) is a non profit that educates and helps state regulators with electric utility regulation. With DOE funding they’re developing a series of issue papers and prototype standards documents for states to use as templates or starting points for DG interconnection, emissions, etc. One interesting observation: RAP suggests that restructuring can actually works against DG, when wholesale markets (ISOs) don’t offer payment for demand reduction, and distribution-only companies become more susceptible to revenue loss. The website has a wealth of material. Of particular interest, policy papers on DG and Electric System reliability, cost methodologies, customer value, and “Accomodating DG in Wholesale Markets”. Particularly note the Draft of a “Model DG Emissions Rule” which is getting a lot of comment. DOE is looking for more input from industry.
Contact: Cheryl Harrington, 207-582-1135,

— DG and FERC – Dan Adamson has done a detailed report on FERC’s role in DG, including policy directions and numerous cases that have come up over the last 10 years or more. Expect increasing complexity and litigation. Adamson believes that FERC has the authority to assert jurisdiction over interconnection of DG no matter how small, if it involves wholesale transactions, but not retail or self-generation. Last October, FERC announced an ANOPR on generation interconnection. On 11 January, consensus drafting groups submitted a lengthy filing, with big disagreements between transmission owners and small generators. A new strawman proposal was due Feb 1. Expect a NOPR for comment soon; FERC hopes to issue a final rule later this year. Even if FERC does get jurisdiction, they don’t have the staff expertise or resources to regulate at the distribution level, and will likely look to the new RTOs do handle the details. States will still have a big role in any case. And, many bills are before Congress; how they’d interact with FERC’s efforts needs to be watched closely. (There is a case before the Supreme Court that may decide much of this issue.

A detailed report will be made available soon on the DOE/DPP website. See more information at:
Contact: Dan Adamson, 202-508-6600,
Also, go to the source:
[Sign up for FERC’s “intranet” to see more details. Of note–most utilities’ participants seem to be in transmission or regulatory affairs… is your DG effort in the loop?]

— Local Permitting – This presentation gives a sobering picture of the situation at the local level. There are over 44,000 independent building inspection jursidictions. It can take 10 years or more to get a new technology mentioned in codes, and even then it is up to states which vintage of a code it wants to use. (For example, Nevada still uses the 1978 Electrical Code!?) Most Fire and Building inspectors have little or no experience or understanding of hydrogen, methanol, fuel cells, etc. so developers can have a tough time. DOE is sponsoring an Education and Outreach effort, doing workshops around the country for local inspectors and state officials. Contact Ann Marie Borbely-Bartis, 202-586-5196,

******** Late Breaking News ******
NARUC passed a resolution this week (13 Feb) to support development of a Model DG Rule — See below for particulars. — I can also send the actual text of the resolution on request.

Presentations – System Integration and Control

A series of ongoing projects address implementation and hardware, including demonstrations of whole building systems, enterprise-wide generation management, and aggregation of DG. Others are developing new hardware to increase capabilities, reliablity and cost-effectiveness of interconnection systems. [As this note is getting a bit too long–please see proceedings for the individual presentations, or contact me to discuss.]

Presentations – Industrial DG

This series of projects involve actual installations or market studies of individual industry sectors. Others addressed market potential in NY, CA and Chicago.

– Increasing the Use of DG in the Semiconductor Industry
Barry Cummings, Salt River Project
– Highly Varying Industrial Load
Dr. Robert Kramer, NiSource
– DG Integration with Telecommunications Facility
Doug Peck, Syska & Hennessy
– CHP Integration with Fluid Heating Processes in the Chemical and Refining Sectors
– CHP Installation at 29 Palms Marine Air Ground Combat
Henry Mak, So Cal Gas
– DG Improvements in Industrial Applications
Rich Biljetina, Industrial Center
– Chicago Industrial Energy Plan
John Kelly, Gas Technology Institute
– New York State Industrial DG
Nag Patibandla, NYSERDA
– Industrial DG Market Transformation Tools
Paul Bautista, Onsite Sycom

Naruc Adopts Resolution Endorsing Development of Model Interconnection Agreements and Procedures

Washington, February 13, 2002
The Board of Directors of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC), this week at the NARUC 2002 Winter Meetings in Washington, D.C., endorsed the development of model interconnection agreement and procedures under the direction of its Committees on Electricity, Energy Resources and the Environment and Finance and Technology. Reiterating its support for open access to the nation’s electricity grid, and the importance of distributed energy resources to our energy future, NARUC noted in is resolution (attached) that:

– Coordination among the States could improve the consistency of treatment so important to the efficient integration of distributed energy resources; and

– Increased national consistency would lower entry barriers and enhance business economic efficiency, and,

– The ready availability of NARUC developed model agreements and procedures will aid in balancing those concerns; and the preparation of model interconnection agreement and procedures by NARUC could provide significant support and

– Efficiencies to those States which have yet to address the challenges of distributed energy resources, and the consideration, adaptation or adoption of such models could provide material assistance in achieving the coordination among the states called for by previous resolutions.

The DOE DPP program has previously support state commissions in their efforts to address the new challenges presented by integrating distributed generation into their energy system, and has been supporting this new initiative. The issue was timely at NARUC because of the FERC’s ongoing inquiry into developing a national rule setting forth interconnection procedures and a standard agreement for FERC jurisdictional interconnections, typically at the transmission level. Some controversy may develop where both state commissions and FERC assert jurisdiction of interconnection issues at the distribution level. For additional information contact Gary Nakarado, DP Program NREL, 303-275-3719 or Gary_Nakarado@NREL.Gov

Calif. Interconnection Workshop Dec 6

Just received this note a few minutes ago from Jairam Gopal, the head of CADER.

It appears that California is gearing up to follow in the footsteps of Texas and New York, and do something about interconnection requirements.

Subject:  Hello everyone:
Date: Fri, 12 Nov 1999 10:21:22 -0800
From:  “Jairam Gopal” <>

Hello everyone:
Please see the CEC Web site at:

for the following posted documents:

1) CEC’s Nov. 3 Order Instituting Investigation on Interconnection issues.
2) Siting Committee’s notice of first interconnection workshop to be  held on December 6.

As you are aware, this OII follows the CPUC Decision of the earlier proceeding on Distributed Generation and Distributed Competition.

The CEC will lead the proceedings on Interconnection Issues and will kick off the process with the above mentioned workshop on December 6, 1999. If you are on the service list of the earlier CPUC proceeding, you should receive a hard copy of the Notice by mail.

Chair, CADER
Jairam Gopal
(916) 654-4880  (tel)
(916) 654-4753 (fax)

DOE Distrib Power Review & IEEE Interconnection Working Group

** DOE Distributed Power Program Review and Planning Meeting
** IEEE SCC21 P1547 Interconnection Working Group
Arlington, VA, September 27-30, 1999


** DOE Distributed Power (DP) Program Review and Planning Meeting

— Welcome and Introduction
— Dan Adamson, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of Power Technologies
— Distributed Power in DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
— Dan Reicher, Assistant Secretary, EE

DP covers a wide gamut of topics, from village power and rural electrification to industrial power parks, partially self-powered office towers (incl. PV), combined heat and power (CHP) and all varieties of renewable energy. There are three “elements of success” that must be met — technologies, markets, and policies. A number of DOE programs involve DP, and there are several cross-cutting initiatives: CHP, Million Solar Roofs, Buildings for the 21st Century, Bioenergy, and Distributed Power (i.e. to address interconnection issues). A DP website is under construction.

— An Industry Perspective — Beverly Jones, Consolidated Natural Gas

Broad trends are setting the stage for DP: industry restructuring, gas/electric convergence, and the role of information technology in energy. All of these are changing the buyer seller relationship dramatically, as the distinct “one-point” of contact is replaced by myriad complex and overlapping interactions. As the slow process of policy change proceeds, the action is mostly at the state level, where there are many opportunities to bring up DR issues arise. States are competing for jobs, and see energy prices/markets as a key determinant. There is less urgency at the federal level, and the lack of standardization is a big problem. One area that’s particularly important–tax policy, especially depreciation rates for DR investments, which should be faster than for traditional generation and distribution facilities.

— Creating Value Streams for Distributed Resources — Dave Hoffman, Celerity Energy

Barriers to DP growth include 100 years with a regulated monopoly system, with it’s concerns about reliability, and the credibility, reliability and costs of DR. Market pressures and technology are driving change. Celerity’s business is acquiring options on peaking capacity from existing gensets, which will be linked via networks and bid into th e power market.

— Program Overview — Joe Galdo, DOE Program Manager

A workshop Dec 98 made recommendations for DOE program actions for DP:
-Interconnection (standards, documentation of the problem,
system integration modeling, and equipment certification)
– Outreach to state regulators
– Quantify benefits
– Model (building) codes and ordinances

The program is organized around three main topics:
– Strategic Research (concepts for advanced system control, etc.)
– Systems Integration (address safety, reliability, etc issues.
Analysis, modeling, hardware testing, interface hardware
and software)
– Regulatory and Institutional Barriers

FY99 Program — $1.2 Million funding — planning, support IEEE standards working group, document interconnection barriers, outreach to stat es.

— Documenting Barriers to Distributed Power — Brent Alderfer, Competitive Utility Strategies

[DP is not new. DOE commissioned a major study to examine what is currently being done.]

A report is due in the next 2 months, detailing 70 case studies of current interconnection experience and practices. Sizes ranged from 300 watt PV to 100 MW combined cycle.

DP “barriers” are seen differently by utilities–who are concerned with safety, reliability, risk, liabilities, and who don’t want “gadgets and gizmos” on the grid. Some utilities simply refuse any (non-QF) connection.

Standby tariffs range widely ($1 to $250/kw/yr). These are arbitrary now, often set to discourage DP. In the future, however, real markets may probably show as wide a range, but for entirely different reasons.

Uplift tariffs are usually based on entire radial system, even if transaction only uses a portion.

Restructuring by states generally has no impact on barriers. Some utilities have embraced DP (O&R 10 years experience using reciprocating gensets owned by 3rd parties to defer substation additions) Southern Co, while opposing FERC restructuring of G&T markets, is actively hooking up cogenerators.

— Interconnection Standard Development — Richard DeBlasio, NREL

[brief overview of SCC21 working group progress]

— Technical Assistance to States and Localities — Gary Nakarado, NREL

Assumed (interconnection) goals are uniform technical requirements, minimized cost, standardized contracts, and costs commensurate with DP system size. PV has paved part of the way. Standards alone won’t assure adoption of DP. For example, net metering laws can limit utility’s ability to resist.

[DOE “State Energy Alternatives” — this website gives specific information on the potential of selected renewable energy resources in each state as well as background information on each state’s electricity sector ]

[The Regulatory Assistance Project (RAP) provides assistance to state regulators. ]

— Environmental and Economic Impact Assessment — Howard Gruenspecht, DOE Office of Policy

The administration’s restructuring proposal addresses DP issues.

A pdf document (the 3rd one listed on the webpage) is an explanatory memo for the proposed legislation, and discusses DP issues in several aspects:

from CECA Supporting Analysis, Chapter 3, page 34

Distributed Power

“The revised Administration proposal includes a package of provisions designed to promote the adoption of efficient combined heat and power and distributed generation technologies. It proposes the development of nationally applicable interconnection standards, clarification of depreciation treatment to assure that distributed generation installations are not subject to unfavorable schedules for the depreciation of structural components, and State-level consideration of stranded cost recovery mechanisms that do not impede cost-effective and energy-efficient combined heat and power projects. It also promises continued efforts by the EPA and the DOE to explore and implement regulatory approaches that recognize the environmental benefits of combined heat and power technologies.”

Secretary Richardson held a “Midwest Electricity Summit” in Chicago on October 8, with several dozen invited stakeholders (utilities, regulators, local government, etc.) to discuss industry issues. Anyone is welcome in the audience. His prepared remarks are posted at:

Another is to be held somewhere in the Northeast in a couple of weeks — details tbd.

— Where Are We Going? A framework for planning White Paper on Interconnection and Controls for Large-Scale Integration of Distributed Energy Resources — Phil Overholt, DOE Program Manager, Transmission Reliability; Joe Eto, LBNL

This was a presentation of the 2nd of the 6 draft white papers.

See: 20 Sep99 UFTO Note-CERTS Draft White Papers
01 Mar99 UFTO Note-CERTS-New DOE Prog in Elec. Reliability

(There’s still time to provide comments on any of the 6 papers.
See 20 Sept note for details.)

— How Do We Get There? — Five-Year Planning (Breakout Sessions)

– Interconnection Standards, Certification and Testing
– Interconnect Hardware and Software
– Addressing Regulatory and Institutional Barriers
– Planning Analysis and Tools

These were facilitated sessions to develop recommendations for near and longer term destinations, R&D requirements, recommended program activities and resources. A summary is being prepared by DOE and should be available in 6-8 weeks.

UPDATE: It looks DOE’s DP program will have a budget of about
$4 million in FY2000.


IEEE SCC21 P1547 Interconnection Working Group
Sept 28-30

Topical Presentations:

The first morning of the 3 day meeting was a series of presentations to further the mutual understanding of technical issues.

— VAR Control from a DR Perspective (T.-E. Moen, ABB)
A detailed technical discussion of voltage source inverters (VSI) and how they can be an economic option for supplying VAR’s into a network.

— Distributed Resources in Downtown Networks (N. Ioannou, BGE) Downtown grid networks, covering perhaps 5% of the total US system, are very different from standard radial networks. There are two types which are very different from each other: grid (or secondary) and spot (or isolated). DP can be connected to either, though it can’t push power into a spot network.

— EEI Interconnection Study Update (M. Davis)
Progress is continuin g. Outlined a 7 step process to determine interconnection requirements, beginning with identifying the type of generator, i.e., induction (externally or self-excited), synchronous (cylindrical or salient pole) or inverter (line or self commutated) and then on to defining characteristics of the distribution system, etc. A great deal of material has been added to the Working Group’s “Resource Document”, a 2 inch thick compendium of information that backs up the standards development.

— Shifting the Balance of Power: Grid Interconnection of Distributed
Generation (Brendan Kirby, ORNL and Nick Lenssen,E SOURCE)

Examines the various issues that hinder DP deployment, mostly coming down to utility resistance, lack of uniform requirements and processes (which are based on large units, and are too extensive for most DP). Points out that loads aren’t very different from DP–both can cause harmonics, ripple, DC, fault current, etc., yet they receive very different treatment. Main difference is intentional injection of power. Existing system built for one way power, but in future may be configured to take better advantage of DP. DP are ideal ancillary service providers, but usually excluded from markets. Need to deal with conflict that utilities are both guardians of the public good, and a competitor in the same system. (This will be published as an E-Source report, with a summary version more generally available. I have a copy of the vugraphs if anyone wants them.)

[Note: check out re the “guerilla solar” movement–people hooking up to the grid without permission.]

— Proposed Revisions toNEC by EEI Elec Light & Power Group (P. Amos, ConEd)

— Proposed New NEC Article on Fuel Cells (K. Krastins)
(See email forwarded to UFTO list on 31 August)


I have email and tel #’s for everyone mentioned above, and some additional hard copy information. Please let me know if you want more details on any o f the above.

CADER/DPCA Symposium on Distributed Resources

[I’ll be attending the DOE Distributed Power Program Review and Planning Meeting in Washington next Monday September 27, followed by the IEEE working group session.]

San Diego Sept 13-14

(see program/agenda at

The meeting was very well attended, exceeding expectations, with roughly 400 registered. It included keynotes by notables (Larry Papay of Bechtel, Dan Reicher, Ass’t Secty, EE/DOE, and David Rohy, Calif Energy Commissioner) and two days of parallel sessions on “Policy”, “Technologies” and “Markets”. It was impossible to be in 3 places at once, however the 2″ thick binder provided copies of the vugraphs from most of the presentations.

A dominant theme: it is not a matter if, or even when, but only of how fast, distributed generation will be deployed on a major scale. In fact, DG is already here, and has been for a long time, in various forms and applications. If it truly is a “disruptive technology”, then we can expect it to lurk below the surface, serving in various niche applications, until a crossover occurs and it emerges an a major scale.

The biggest issue seems to be interconnection with the grid. Advocates see utilities as putting up strong resistance. One speaker, Edan Prabhu, explained it terms of distribution departments, at the low end of the totem pole in utilities, trying to protect themselves and their “turf” from this dangerous invasion of “their” system. He explained how the good guys meet the “nice guys”–DG advocates vs. the well-meaning protectors of the system.

There was considerable muttering in the back of the room as speakers from the California utilities claimed to be doing all they can. Repeatedly, we see instances where utilities can handle interconnections just fine, when they want to. In other situations, however, they seen as throwing up roadblocks and delays. Ironically, utilities are entirely comfortable with large motors, which feed back fault current when voltage disappears, but this same issue is seen as a huge problem for DG.

As Dan Reicher explained in his comments, nine states have now gone ahead to establish some kind of interconnection standards for small scale generation, while the long term answer is to have one new national standard. The IEEE work under Dick DeBlasio is key to this, and DOE also supports the development of advanced hardware and software for interconnection.

There was a very good summary of the remarkable events in Texas, where a process has moved with unprecedented speed to cut through the confusion and arrive at an interim set of workable policies. The proposed rules are available online:

A hearing is scheduled for October 25. The presentation was given by Nat Treadway, a former PUC analyst, who is now on his own. 713-669-9701,
New York state has a similar initiative for small DG (under 300 KVA). A commission staff proposal was issued in July, however timing of a decision is uncertain. Comments were due by September 20.
In California, the PUC took longer than expected to announce a decision on a staff recommendation to split their rulemaking proceeding into two parts — Distribution Competition, and DG Implementation Issues. A draft decision to do this was finally announced Sept 21, and is now available online (2 documents) at:
The California ISO presented an interesting comparison of technical requirements for large generators on the system with what might be needed for DG. Generators need to have sophisticated communications and control capabilities that the ISO can monitor and talk to directly. The ISO is implementing the “ANALOPE” system to do some of this over the internet (there is a strong need to certify bids and contracts–i.e. failsafe digital signatures). Once this is established, it may pave the way for the use of internet technology to communicate with DG’s and enable them to participate in the California energy and ancillary services markets.
(Contact: David Hawkins 916-351-4465
The Technology sessions featured presentations by makers of microturbines, fuel cells, reciprocating engines, dish stirling, storage, and renewables. Discussions on “Markets” ranged from the “sleeping giant” of international electric demand, to combined heat and power and the use of smart technology to capture market value. Selected items may be featured in future UFTO Notes.

IEEE Standards Group Tackles DR Interconnection Issues

The IEEE Standards Coordinating Committee 21 (IEEE SCC21) oversees the development of standards in the area of fuel cells, photovoltaics, distributed generation, and energy storage.

— SCC21 coordinates efforts in these fields among the various IEEE societies and other appropriate organizations to insure that all standards are consistent and properly reflect the views of all applicable disciplines. SCC21 reviews all proposed IEEE standards in these fields before their submission to the IEEE Standards Board for approval and coordinates submission to other organizations. (To learn more about IEEE Standards activities, go to: )

“Standard for Distributed Resources Interconnected with Electric Power Systems” is the task of a new working group (one of 19 under SCC21). Their project authorization request (PAR) P1547 got the final go ahead in March ’99 to develop a “uniform standard for interconnection of distributed resources with electric power systems and requirements relevant to the performance, operation, testing, safety considerations, and maintenance of the interconnection.”

Working Group Chair — Richard DeBlasio (NREL)
Vice Chair — Frank Goodman (EPRI)
Vice Chair — Joseph Koepfinger (Duquesne), and
Working Group Secretary — Thomas S. Basso (NREL).

For a good and timely overview, see this recent testimony before the US Senate:

“Testimony on Interconnection of Distributed Resources before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, US Senate” June 22, 1999,
by Tom Schneider,Vice Chair, Energy Policy Committee, IEEE/USA,

The P1547 Working Group, whose membership is approaching 200, has met already several times since the initial organizational meeting in December, and will continue to meet as often as every 2-3 months. The last meeting was held Jun 28-30, in Chicago. Future meetings are set for Sept 27 (tentative – precise date to be determined), in Washington DC, then Dec 1-2, in Tampa.

At the September meeting, there are tentative plans to hold an open informational session, which might be good to attend. Also, the Summer Power Meeting in Edmonton (July 18-22) will have DR as a major theme (“Track 3”), with a panel session on interconnection.

There’s an aggressive schedule to put together a DR standards document for submission to the IEEE Standards Board — to have a final draft ready by March 2000. Individuals and small groups are working on writing assignments to prepare the various sections. The group has already produced and assembled a great deal of valuable information, and have worked out detailed classification schemes for types of DR interconnection equipment and configurations. Probably the most important attribute is size of the DR, and the size of the system it’s connected to–the larger the DR, as a fraction of the system, the more involved the requirements.

Overall, this is a huge undertaking. According to one estimate, there are at least 18,000 “combinations,” considering the number of different kinds of distribution circuits, inverter types, size ranges, and “issues” to address. An analysis by EEI (Interconnection Operations and Planning Group) has identified 30 issues, times 3 converter types (inverter, and synchronous, and asynch generator), times 5 distribution circuit types. (Some of the 30 issues include nuisance fuse blowing, reclosing, islanding, overvoltages, harmonics, switchgear ratings, lineworker safety, etc.) A major goal of this project is to minimize the time and expense required for protection studies and eliminate customization of solutions, by providing a common analysis framework and prequalification of equipment.

Individual states are under ratepayer pressure to come up quickly with their own jurisdictional DG interconnection rulings, and there are major programs in Europe, so it’s all the more important to avoid the complications of multiple (possibly conflicting) sets of requirements. Fortunately, many other IEEE committees already have standards related to interconnection topics or components, e.g. for power quality, relaying, etc. The ongoing cooperative consensus approach to the P1547 DR standard should help accelerate the development of a technically sound, uniform interconnection standard.

It’s seems surprising that relatively few utilities are represented on the Working Group, despite the often stated belief that DR is going to be hugely significant. (Industry organizations are actively participating, however, along with equipment makers and others.) The companies that are involved seem to embrace the DR concept and appear to be positioning themselves to prosper by it. (Some other companies are getting reputations as obstructionists, throwing obstacles and delays at every proposed installation.)

Participation is the best (only) way to tap into this rich array of information on the subject (all in hardcopy with minutes of the meetings!), and to track and influence developments. Industry experts who contribute their time and energy get a chance to make a difference.

Contact: Dick DeBlasio, 303-384-6452,
Tom Basso, 303-384-6765,