- Non-wires alternatives (NWAs) are electric utility system investments and operating practices that can defer or replace the need for specific transmission and/or distribution projects, at lower total resource cost, by reliably reducing transmission congestion or distribution system constraints at times of maximum demand in specific grid areas.
- Transmission-related NWAs are also known as non-transmission alternatives (NTAs).
- They can be identified through least-cost planning and action, one geographic area at a time, for managing electricity supply and demand using all means available and necessary, including demand response, distributed generation (DG), energy efficiency, electricity and thermal storage, load management, and rate design.
- An electricity grid investment or project that uses non-traditional T&D solutions, such as distributed generation, energy storage, energy efficiency demand response, and grid software and controls, to defer or replace the need for specific equipment upgrades, such as T&D lines or transformers, by reducing load at a substation or circuit level.
Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) の発表
- The latest trend among utilities and grid operators appears to be forgoing traditional transmission and distribution (T&D) upgrades for alternative methods to meet system needs.
- BPA chose to take “a new approach to managing congestion on our transmission grid,”
- This decision “reflects a shift for BPA―from the traditional approach of primarily relying on new construction to meet changing transmission needs, to embracing a more flexible, scalable and economically and operationally efficient approach to managing our transmission system.”
- rather than build a new $1 billion, 80-mile transmission line along highway I-5 in Oregon. (according to CEO Elliot Mainzer)
- The preferred solution includes resources like battery storage, flow control devices, and demand response.
- Such projects have become known as non-wires alternatives (NWA), and are proliferating across the country.
- Traditionally, when a transmission or distribution system operator had a need to upgrade or replace infrastructure due to aging equipment or increased load demand, it would simply conduct poles and wires projects on which it could earn a regulated rate of return.
- No thought was given to alternatives in addressing the issue; it was simply seen as replacing a part in the electric grid machine.
- However, more creative solutions are being explored to address infrastructure needs at a lower cost with higher customer and environmental benefits as grid management and distributed energy resource (DER) technology has improved.
- Utilities now look to increase customer engagement and provide more value-added services, and policy concerns related to cost and the environment have grown.
- At this early stage in development, there is no standard business model and procurement process for utilities to implement NWA.
- Currently, there are four models being considered and tried by utilities.
- The first is request for proposal (RFP), a typical utility procurement model. Auctions are another, borrowed from wholesale market models to drive the lowest-cost solutions. Also being considered is procurement with current implementation contractors to keep things simple and quick.
- The last possibility is internal utility resource deployment if the utility has the required capabilities.
- There is no one right answer for all situations; each case will depend on the utility’s internal structure and capabilities along with the regulatory construct in which it operates.
- Maine’s Booth Bay Harbor Pilot Project
- California “loading order” and energy storage mandates
- Public purpose, including microgrid projects under development in Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York
- Massachusetts’ required grid modernization plans
- New York’s Brooklyn/Queens Demand Management Program
- Vermont’s transmission deferral projects