All Things DER: Why Planning, Development, and Operations Support Teams are Vital

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, we’re talking with David Nestler, the engineering manager of the Planning, Development, and Generation Support Group at WE Energies serving Wisconsin and Michigan’s upper peninsula areas. We discuss the importance of organizational structure and recognizing red flags while utilizing existing resources to efficiently evolve alongside the new power grid that DER brings. From solar power requests to managing a team that touches multiple departments in any given day, we cover the various ways to increase efficiency as these new DER technologies come on the market while simultaneously maintaining the existing power grid through the use of existing data and projected models.

Here’s what you’ll discover:

  • How allowing ownership of both transmission and distribution channels poses an exciting opportunity and possible challenges in the coming years
  • Why solar power has been the most requested DER in the Wisconsin and upper peninsula of Michigan areas
  • The impact that state-ordered electric vehicle projects may have for consumers as the changing infrastructure and demand for increased efficiency grows
  • How the data, planning, and project development systems had to rapidly change to accommodate the increased demand of DER
  • Why seeing red flags in advance is integral for proper preparation of handling increased requests to streamline and maximize efficiency
  • Why “don’t let perfection be the enemy of success” proves a helpful mentality for engineers when managing all the fast-moving requests that accompany advancing technologies