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Smart City/Smart Utility Report: Long-Term Planning Critical To Leveraging DER Investments

DERs are becoming a key component of the modern power grid, affecting all aspects of utility operations and business processes from resource planning to customer service, regulatory requirements and distribution system needs. As DERs proliferate and many customers begin to exercise more control over how and where their energy is produced, utilities have a responsibility to plan ahead and ensure that they make appropriate infrastructure investments to optimize benefits for all stakeholders.

As more DERs are interconnected and become more active participants in providing grid services, traditional radial utility distribution systems must evolve into more dynamic and integrated networks capable of handling two-way power flow and rapid exchange of information. However, this evolution will take time and coincide with the logical replacement of aging infrastructure to create a more decentralized, interoperable and intelligent network of systems within the “smart city” construct. To be successful, smart city planning and execution of distributed infrastructure must involve collaboration with utility leaders in power, water and telecommunications.