Keywords: energy efficiency, transmission and distribution planning, distributed generation, reliability, load forecasting, financial forecasting, non–wire alternatives, utilities
Opportunities and obstacles: integrating energy efficiency into the transmission and distribution planning process
This paper seeks to highlight issues that warrant further evaluation associated with more precisely incorporating energy efficiency (EE) into a utility's system wide transmission and distribution (T&D) plan from a financial and load forecasting perspective while accounting for system reliability and ratepayer concerns. This paper also analyses how EE is integrated into grid operators' transmission and distribution planning process and whether or not EE can be an effective tool in either displacing or delaying the need for system upgrades. The research focuses on the financial and reliability implications of integrating EE, including EE subsidised distributed generation (DG), into system planning and the subsequent benefits to ratepayers as a result of better allocation of utility funds. This research topic fits in with the broader national effort to analyse how non–wire alternatives can be factored into a utility's T&D planning process.