Integrated Grid Planning and Management
Distributed energy continues to disrupt the power sector and push utilities and other program administrators to reevaluate energy management solutions. Our approach balances long-term risk and profitability of existing energy services with budding opportunities in new grid and non-energy services.
Informed by decades of experience and ongoing research, we have mastered extracting value from DER. We empower clients to optimize various distributed resources to meet grid needs over time—while considering economic, engineering, and environmental factors. We apply grid planning and operational insights to evaluate integrated DER solutions, develop non-wires alternatives, and help clients procure, manage, and deploy DERs to the benefit of the utility, its customers, and the grid.
Our proprietary analytics and insights gleaned from working with both electric and gas companies and commercial utilities across the United States, Canada, and Australia has provided us with a deep understanding of the evolving role of DER and how to build a compliant business plan to support the grid in the 21st century.
Distribution Resource Planning
As regions around the world begin to strengthen and expand their grids, our comprehensive methods of strategic planning integrate full lifecycle energy resilience into blueprints for power generation, transmission, and distribution. We expand on standard Integrated Resource Planning (IRP) processes that traditionally exclude climate and system resiliency, enabling governments and utilities to develop sustainable plans that scale up energy resources (including clean energy sources) and address challenges related to short- and long-term power sector investment.
The ICF Integrated Resource and Resilience Planning (IRRP) method of strategic energy planning, models cost-effective scenarios based on power generation options, projected transmission needs, and anticipated energy demand. It supports informed decision-making on:
- Development of central and distributed power generation resources
- Expansion and improvement of transmission and distribution
- Use of demand-side management (DSM) and energy efficiency as a source of energy
Transmission and Distribution Advisory
The growing penetration of distributed energy resources (DER) is changing utility management and planning processes. Utilities and other program administrators must rethink traditional distribution planning to evaluate DER deployment scenarios, hosting capacity limitations, complex regulatory requirements, the potential for deferred capex, and the challenges of probabilistic planning.
Backed by an extensive portfolio of transmission and distribution planning projects, we help clients seize opportunities to optimize and monetize modernizations, create viability, secure stakeholder approval for grid upgrades, and plan for the next generation of distribution and transmission systems.
Our energy supply varies more today than ever before, exposing the need for a strategic approach to grid investments—including new operational demands, clean energy goals, safety and security concerns, and evolving consumerism.
Understanding the critical need for legacy and emerging systems to support improved functionality over time, we advise clients on no-regrets investment strategies to achieve business objectives while planning for—and enabling—the grid of the future. Our grid planners, architects, modelers, and regulatory design and cybersecurity specialists have led the first generation of grid modernization programs in the country. We identify drivers and timing considerations that translate into specific objectives and attributes for systems, capabilities, and equipment to address evolving grid and customer needs.
We understand the spectrum of need for stakeholders—from grid managers who balance near-term and strategic grid requirements to regulators, utilities, and other program administrators who require understanding of the rationale behind grid investments.
Litigation and Regulatory Support
Legislative frameworks shift overnight, utilities rely on our expertise at the intersection of energy markets and regulatory models to both fortify their existing revenue streams and navigate future expansion.
On behalf of utilities, independent power producers, and other stakeholders, our team of specialists provide unbiased and authoritative testimony on:
- Exhaustive, multidimensional market analysis
- Broad regulatory support, including regulatory design work
- Project-specific insights for legal partnerships with regulators
From market analysis to project-specific insights for legal proceedings—an imminent acquisition, contract or merger dispute, bankruptcy, power plant siting, pipeline construction project—we empower clients to manage risks, demonstrate value to stakeholders, and stay one step ahead of the changing markets.
Integrated DER Planning and Pilot Programs
Our Integrated Planning Model (IPM®) determines the least-cost means of meeting electric generation energy and capacity requirements while complying with specified constraints, including air pollution regulations, transmission constraints, and plant-specific operational constraints.
We provide true integration of wholesale power, system reliability, environmental constraints, fuel choice, transmission, capacity expansion, and all key operational elements of generators on the power grid in a linear optimization framework. The model utilizes a Windows™-based database platform and interface that captures a detailed representation of every electric boiler and generator in the power market being modeled.
Clients have harnessed IPM to:
- Valuation studies for generation and transmission assets
- Forecasting of regional forward energy and capacity prices
- Air emissions compliance strategies and pollution allowances
- Portfolio optimization strategies
- Impact assessments of alternate environmental regulatory standards
- Impact assessments of changes in fuel pricing
- Economic or electricity demand growth analysis
- Evaluation of the potential construction options to determine the optimal mix of new builds or transmission additions
- Assessment of power plant retirement decisions
- Determination of optimal timing decisions for environmental compliance decisions
- Combined heat and power (CHP) analysis
- Pricing impact of demand responsiveness
- Determination of probability and cost of lost or unserved load
The versatility of IPM® allows users to specify which constraints to exercise and populate IPM® with their own datasets. Versions of IPM® have been used to support the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) analyses of utility air emissions, and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) benefit-cost analysis of regional transmission organizations (RTO).