Electric Utilities Boost Grid Connection Investments to Handle Surge in Distributed Energy Resources

GridUnity says demand for its software to automate interconnection applications to hit record level in 2017

 

NEW YORK, May 04, 2017 – GridUnity, a distributed energy platform-as-a-service company, today announced it is seeing fast-growing demand for its software which helps utilities efficiently connect and optimize distributed energy resources (DER). GridUnity can accelerate the utility review and interconnection process by as much as 98%.

“The nation’s power industry is at an inflection point, with utilities and regulators needing to quickly transform how distributed energy sources are brought onto the grid, and how they will be managed,” said GridUnity CEO Brian Fitzsimons.  “Many utilities are turning to automation and analytics software to help meet critical challenges. GridUnity delivers unprecedented benefits to utilities, regulators, customers and communities. Access to these benefits has been accelerated by recent changes enabling utilities to capitalize cloud-based software in a number of states.”

Just one of these benefits is cutting the time it takes utilities to approve applications to connect new energy sources into the grid. GridUnity reduces interconnection time by up to 98% so that valuable engineering expertise can be focused on more complex project analysis. The chart shows improvements possible using GridUnity and is based on data analysis of a representative sample of utilities in California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New York and New Jersey.

According to GTM Research and SEIA, nearly two thirds of newly installed electric capacity in 2016 was from solar and wind. For utilities, this is translating into new milestones in distributed energy – such as Pacific Gas and Electric’s reaching 2,409 megawatts of private rooftop solar capacity and a surge in interest for new solar energy programs at Hawaiian Electric. GridUnity is working with utilities, regulators and developers to identify and adopt innovative ways to address the record-setting influx of distributed energy resources.

The company has tripled its R&D team, while boosting overall investment in the development of new cloud-based solutions. These areas include:

  • Engaging customers, partners and regulators in an online process for interconnection application, review and approval of all energy resources – rather than relying on slow and expensive manual processes;
  • A proactive approach to analyzing, mapping and publishing the grid’s hosting capacity – helping developers identify locations that could benefit from distributed generation, accelerating approval times and helping utilities maintain accurate network models; and
  • Safeguarding grid reliability with holistic grid planning and optimization that leverages data across a utility’s core business processes, systems and departments to undertake predictive simulations on DER impacts, optimize Demand Side Management programs, identify optimal mitigation strategies, and compare high value capital investments with non-wire alternatives.

Founded in 2010, GridUnity’s customers include Pacific Gas and Electric, Southern California Edison, and the three Hawaiian Electric utilities.  Formerly known as Qado Energy, the company worked with the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative to develop its platform (Read EERE Success Story published today) and is now rapidly expanding its software user base to help speed industry-wide transformation of DER interconnection and optimization processes.