SEPA issues new report that outlines steps to integrated distribution planning

Published on September 23, 2020 by Dave Kovaleski

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In a new report, the Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) proposes a phased framework for the utility transition from traditional to integrated distribution planning (IDP).

SEPA points out that at least 20 states have either established or are looking into a regulatory shift toward integrated distribution planning. The report seeks to demystify the process of distribution planning while providing a roadmap for practitioners in the move toward IDP.

“This report helps unpack and communicate the technical complexities, nuances, and obstacles that industry stakeholders must understand in order to pave the way for IDP,” Brenda Chew, senior manager of research at SEPA, said. “The transition to a clean and modern grid will require innovation and integration in distribution grid planning approaches. SEPA is committed to helping utilities and stakeholders evaluate these considerations and challenges through a common framework.”

The report identifies key IDP implementation challenges and outlines a four-part phased-in approach to making the transition. SEPA said utilities and regulators need a clear vision as well as guiding goals and objectives to help determine the steps in the IDP transition process. Current tools and grid capabilities are limited in the level of control they provide to distribution planners and operators. The industry will need to bridge those gaps and make foundational grid investments.