The purpose of this report is to summarize approaches or elements of electric distribution system planning (DSP) that some states have adopted in the context of grid modernization and higher levels of distributed energy resources (DERs). Other states can consider adapting these to help achieve the specific aims set for their own DSP process.
The report contains descriptions of and links to:
- Vision statements, goals, objectives, and definitions set by states to guide their distribution planning processes
- Materials that can potentially be adapted and used — for example, utility surveys and non-wires alternatives (NWA) screening criteria
- Advanced tools, such as hosting capacity and locational net benefits methodologies, that can be adapted and used
- Processes such as utility filing requirements — for example, distribution investment plans — that can shine light on DSP-related needs
- Cost recovery mechanisms that can incentivize grid improvements to improve reliability and resilience and modernize the grid
- Examples of how states are aligning distribution system planning with other types of planning.
The first step for any state that wants to move forward with an integrated DSP process is to clearly define its vision, goals, and objectives. Clear goals and objectives will help guide the process and avoid wasted effort. Goals and objectives should take into account immediate needs and opportunities and those that are likely to emerge in the future.