Rhode Island’s 2006 Comprehensive Energy Conservation, Efficiency, and Affordability Act established the state’s landmark “Least-Cost Procurement” policy, which requires electric and natural gas distribution companies to invest in “all cost-effective” energy efficiency before the acquisition of additional supply. The law contains an important and innovative provision requiring electric distribution companies (National Grid, “the Company”) to develop an annual “System Reliability Procurement” (SRP) Plan, which must strategically consider an array of customer and utility-sited energy resources to maximize their benefit to Rhode Island’s energy system. These “non-wires alternatives” (NWAs) include but are not limited to cost-effective energy efficiency measures, distributed generation and demand response measures that are targeted toward reducing the peak loads on the electricity grid. The Company is asked to assess whether an array of such resources could be deployed to avoid dirtier “peaking” generators and defer distribution (and potentially transmission) system investments. Deferring distribution system investments could provide savings over time for customers and could lower the volatility and cost uncertainty of the larger energy and capacity markets in New England by securing sources of energy supply and capacity from in-state resources.
Since 2012, National Grid has been conducting an SRP pilot called “DemandLink” in Tiverton and Little Compton. This pilot is designed to defer the need for a new substation feeder in the Tiverton/Little Compton region through at least 2017 by targeting energy efficiency measures and conducting a demand response program in the area that will reduce the load on specific feeders attributable to customer air conditioning, lighting, and other summer-peaking loads. If the pilot is successful in enrolling and providing 1 megawatt (MW) of sustained load relief over its planned lifecycle, it will result in deferred construction of a new substation feeder estimated to cost $2.9 million for four years.
For those that live in the Tiverton or Little Compton area, please click here for additional information about the SRP: https://www.myngrid.com/demandlink
In 2014, the OER and National Grid commissioned a study by Peregrine Energy Group, Inc. to explore how distributed renewable energy—specifically solar—could play a role in Rhode Island’s system reliability efforts. The goal of the study was to better understand the viability, costs, and benefits for solar distributed generation (DG) to reduce peak loads on the electric distribution system, possibly leading to distribution investment deferral. The Peregrine study considered Rhode Island’s current System Reliability Procurement pilot in the towns of Tiverton and Little Compton and developed: (1) solar deployment options and a proposed configuration for a portfolio of solar DG to meet 250 kW of summer peak load reduction; and (2) an implementation strategy to solicit participation in a pilot and deploy the DG resources.
A copy of the Peregrine Energy Group, Inc. study “Solar PV for Distribution Grid Support” may be found here
For further information about the SRP, please contact:
Office of Energy Resources