All Things DER: How to Bridge the Communication Gap Between Different Sectors of the Power Industry

by Dr. Elizabeth Cook, General Manager of Advanced Grid Solutions, Duquesne Light Company

Welcome to the All Things DER podcast! In this podcast, we’ll be digging in, defining, and discussing where the new energy economy is heading with electric industry leaders, and explore all the ways that distributed energy resources can modernize and improve our ever-evolving power grid.

In today’s episode of All Things DER, we’re talking with Allison Bates Wannop, the Director of Legal and Regulatory Affairs at Voltus, Inc. We discuss communication difficulties and fundamental differences that arise among the transmission, distribution, and aggregators sectors within the power industry. From the proven success of the Demand Response system to the regulatory barriers that stifle entrepreneurial companies from developing beneficial new technologies, we have a lively conversation that eloquently depicts what collaborative synergy and cooperative work can do to enhance a shared vision of a successful future for the power industry as a whole.

Please note – at 8:30, during our discussion about the ancillary services being offered by DERs, we misspoke and referred to one of the services as “frequency response.” The correct term is “frequency regulation.”

Here’s what you’ll discover:

  • What the fundamental role of an aggregator is, and why does this matter to our conversation
  • How leveraging the Demand Response system is one of the most powerful tools we currently have to manage the grid
  • Why the definition of DERMS can vary across the industry, and how it impacts the use of new DER innovations
  • How DER systems are already in use within the energy markets & what types of new DER will be able to serve this sector
  • Why removing certain market barriers and rules that hinder innovations may lead to greater power grid efficiency and reliability over time
  • What aggregators must understand about the transmission and distribution sectors to fully optimize our existing power grid while safely and reliably adding in these new technologies coming to market