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New DER Planning Software from Clean Power Research and SMUD Enables Utilities to Predict Bottom-Line Impacts in a DER World

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 Product will benefit utilities of all sizes

Sacramento, Calif., Jan. 17, 2018Clean Power Research® and SMUD today announced the launch of WattPlan® Grid, a new software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution that will deliver on-demand adoption forecasts for distributed energy resource (DER) technologies and enable utilities to assess grid and bottom-line revenue impacts for a combination of DERs. With WattPlan Grid, U.S. utilities for the first time will be able to quickly conduct customer, feeder and system level DER planning studies for their entire service territory, and:

  • Make intelligent investments based on a range of DER adoption scenarios
  • Design rates that help customers and utilities benefit from DER adoption
  • Adapt to changing business models and DER market conditions

“WattPlan Grid will help us determine how best to maximize the benefits of DER investments in our community,” said SMUD Chief Grid Strategy and Operations Officer Paul Lau. “The ability to forecast customer DER adoption quickly using consistent and accurate methods through a variety of planning scenarios allows us to more effectively plan for and manage our grid over the long term, and that helps us continue to deliver affordable, reliable electricity to our residential and business customers.”

Widespread DER adoption can significantly impact utility operations and planning; however, it can take months to analyze just a handful of scenarios with current DER planning practices that rely heavily on subject matter experts with spreadsheets and one-time consulting studies. Furthermore, current planning methods typically don’t provide the needed level of spatial detail, nor do they consider how the purchase of one DER, such as a solar PV system, affects the probability that a customer will adopt another DER such as storage or an electric vehicle. These details are required to accurately assess impacts to grid operations and revenue.

With new legislation and technology constantly changing the outlook for DER markets, utilities need to be able to evaluate and adapt quickly. WattPlan Grid delivers on-demand customer DER adoption forecasts based on utility-defined rates, incentives, and technology costs and specifications. Adoption forecasts will consider the interacting effects of rooftop solar, electric vehicles, battery storage, demand response and energy efficiency for each customer individually. Impacts of individual customer DER adoption will aggregate to the circuit and feeder level to allow overall impacts to grid operations and revenue to be evaluated in more detail.

The benefits of fast and comprehensive DER planning software extend to a range of stakeholders at utilities. For example:

  • DER planners, resource planners and distribution planners can consider a wide range of adoption scenarios and quickly adapt planning to changes in the market. Better planning drives smarter investments.
  • Rate analysts can evaluate rate designs that allow customers to save money with DERs and encourage customer adoption of DERs to benefit the utility.
  • Customer program specialists can understand customer behavior at an individual customer level, allowing more effective engagement and identification of new business opportunities.

“Utilities doing advanced DER forecasting have expressed strong interest in more accurate and granular models,” said Clean Power Research Chief Executive Officer Jeff Ressler. “With WattPlan Grid, we provide a deep, repeatable platform for accurately modeling and re-modeling scenarios as inputs and conditions change.”

For the fastest results, WattPlan Grid works in combination with data utilities have obtained from other Clean Power Research products, making it easy to incorporate new data as DER adoption evolves. These products include:

  • PowerClerk®, the industry’s leading program management automation software for renewables and interconnection, a product that today holds installation data for more than 50 percent of U.S. rooftop solar PV systems.
  • SolarAnywhere®, a family of solar resource and analysis products that provide the most accurate solar forecasting data available according to a recent study.
  • WattPlan®, now known as WattPlan Advisor, a product that has grown to engage more than 100,000 utility customers per year with trusted DER advice. WattPlan Grid leverages customer DER interest data from WattPlan Advisor to further inform DER forecasts.

The SMUD New Business Development project to help develop WattPlan Grid began in June 2017. Clean Power Research and SMUD will be extending the capabilities of WattPlan Grid throughout the course of the project and beyond.

Learn more about SMUD’s DER planning strategy at DistribuTECH 2018 in San Antonio, Texas, Jan. 23 to 25. Patrick McCoy, strategic solar business planner at SMUD, will share data from WattPlan Grid in his presentation titled: “Planning for Customer DER Adoption.” Visit Clean Power Research at DistribuTECH in booth #845.

About Clean Power Research

Clean Power Research® has delivered award-winning cloud software solutions to utilities and industry for 20 years. Our PowerClerk®, WattPlan® and SolarAnywhere® product families allow our customers to make sense of and thrive amid the energy transformation. Clean Power Research has offices in Napa, Calif., and Kirkland, Wash. For more information, visit www.cleanpower.com.

About SMUD

As the nation’s sixth-largest community-owned electric service provider, SMUD has been providing low-cost, reliable electricity for about 70 years to Sacramento County and small adjoining portions of Placer and Yolo Counties. SMUD is a recognized industry leader and award winner for its innovative energy efficiency programs, renewable power technologies, and for its sustainable solutions for a healthier environment. SMUD’s power mix is about 50 percent non-carbon emitting. For more information, visit smud.org.