Connecticut to Look at Resilience, Renewables & NWAs in Grid Modernization Proceeding

July 14, 2020
Connecticut has launched three new proceedings to explore grid modernization policies that are likely to be of interest to the microgrid community.

Connecticut has launched three new proceedings to explore grid modernization policies that are likely to be of interest to the microgrid community.

Underway before the state Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA), the three policy tracks will look at reliability and system resilience metrics and targets, non-wires alternatives, and the state’s clean and renewable energy program.

They are part of Connecticut’s larger effort to create a framework for an “equitable modern grid,” released by PURA in October and described as a way to lead “by example and show that economic and environmental objectives are not mutually exclusive.” (Docket No. 17-12-03 Interim Decision).

The three topics are among 11 the regulatory authority is investigating in its grid modernization efforts. Six of the topics are further along in the multi-prong proceeding. They cover energy affordability, electric storage, advanced metering infrastructure, zero emissions vehicles, innovation pilots, and interconnection standards. 

The regulatory authority in May released requests for proposals and requests for program designs for the six topics. Proposal deadlines run through July 31.

After it receives responses from the six solicitations, the authority will create a straw proposal, which it will open to comment, before releasing a final decision. 

Coming up later in the process — what PURA calls Phase III — are the latest three topics:

  • Resilience metrics and targets (Docket No. 17-12-03RE08)
  • Non-wires alternatives (Docket No. 17-12-03RE07)
  • The state’s clean and renewable energy program (Docket No. 17-12-03RE09)

The regulatory authority seeks industry experts to provide information and comment on the three topics. Those who want to participate must file a petition by July 31.

The resilience proceeding aims to establish targets and metrics to measure both the success and costs of utility reliability and resilience programs. 

For the non-wires alternatives program, the state regulatory agency hopes to establish “a transparent and competitive process for comparing potential non-wires alternative (NWA) solutions against traditional distribution system capacity upgrades and other utility expenses.”

The clean energy proceeding sets as a goal creation of a centralized data-source that will show the status of projects. PURA also hopes to build upon its work establishing a value of distributed energy resources.

One group carefully following the Connecticut proceedings — and participating — is the DER Task Force, a national group of analysts, executives, academics, investors, technologists, and other distributed energy experts set up last year to share and debate ideas, meet experts, influence policy, learn, and teach.

In an email to Microgrid Knowledge, the task force described PURA as “putting in the time to do things right.”

“The task force regulatory team jumped at the opportunity to respond to PURA’s request — it’s a clear and open-ended opportunity to have a positive impact on the industry. This could shape up to be a model for other states to follow.”

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About the Author

Elisa Wood | Editor-in-Chief

Elisa Wood is an award-winning writer and editor who specializes in the energy industry. She is chief editor and co-founder of Microgrid Knowledge and serves as co-host of the publication’s popular conference series. She also co-founded, where she continues to lead a team of energy writers who produce content for energy companies and advocacy organizations.

She has been writing about energy for more than two decades and is published widely. Her work can be found in prominent energy business journals as well as mainstream publications. She has been quoted by NPR, the Wall Street Journal and other notable media outlets.

“For an especially readable voice in the industry, the most consistent interpreter across these years has been the energy journalist Elisa Wood, whose Microgrid Knowledge (and conference) has aggregated more stories better than any other feed of its time,” wrote Malcolm McCullough, in the book, Downtime on the Microgrid, published by MIT Press in 2020.

Twitter: @ElisaWood

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