Role of Non-Wires Solutions in Distributed Energy Resources

In an article for AESP Magazine, Navigant explores the growing importance of non-wires solutions

As distributed energy resource (DER) deployments grow around the country, utilities and policymakers are beginning to recognize the importance of being strategic about the timing and extent of DER deployments. More and more utilities consider non-wires solutions (NWS) as an alternative to traditional transmission and distribution (T&D) investments.

In an article for AESP Magazine, Greg Wikler, Robin Maslowski, Tim Stanton, and Jay Paidipati of Navigant outline how NWS is working in today’s changing electric grids. Through several case studies, they highlight why NSW is becoming increasingly important for energy service providers.

Traditionally, when a transmission or distribution system operator had a need to upgrade or replace infrastructure, they would procure new equipment on which it could earn a regulated rate of return. Now, more creative solutions are being explored to address infrastructure needs at a lower cost with higher customer and environmental benefits. “Utilities now look to increase customer engagement and provide more value-added services,” wrote the authors.

The suitability of a NWS solution to meet an identified system need is a function of assessing the costs and time to implement the traditional solution in comparison with the NWS. It is a vital analysis to balance the consideration of DER to meet system needs against the mandate to provide safe, reliable, and affordable service to customers. In the article, the energy experts describe the criteria to determine whether a specific T&D investment can effectively be deferred by DER and would be suitable for an NWS.

[Note: The article is reprinted from the 2018 AESP Magazine, the annual magazine for members of the Association of Energy Services Professionals. You can download the full magazine here: aesp.org/page/aespmagazine]

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