IEEE, Utilities Collaborate on DER Interconnection Credentialing Program


IEEE, a technical professional organization, and the IEEE Standards Association (IEEE SA) have unveiled the IEEE Std 1547-2018 Distributed Energy Resources (DER) Interconnection Commissioning: Education and Credentialing Program.

The IEEE 1547 standard informs critical utility engineering and business practices for DERs in markets worldwide. The credentialing program is being developed to deliver educational content and requirements around DER interconnection, documentation for a standardized IEEE 1547 commissioning process and an initial pool of credentialed IEEE 1547 commissioning agents.

IEEE collaborated with Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. (BGE), Commonwealth Edison (ComEd), Dominion Energy, Duke Energy and Orange and Rockland Utilities (O&R) to create this program to identify, train and certify individuals for the commissioning of any installed DER interconnection.

The goal of the program is to enhance compliance with IEEE 1547 – IEEE Standard for Interconnection and Interoperability of Distributed Energy Resources with Associated Electric Power Systems and local jurisdictional requirements. Additionally, the program seeks to standardize the process by which the interconnections of renewables and other DERs are assessed.

To achieve a more sustainable and reliable power system, utilities need to safely and securely interconnect more DER with the electricity grid. This commonly includes both residential and commercial solar, wind, battery and combined heat and power (CHP). 

The program is intended to benefit stakeholders across the DER interconnection process. The program, when it is launched, will provide utilities and DER vendors a larger number of credentialed experts who can be leveraged for their periodic commissioning tasks. This could prove especially helpful with the growing number of residential sites now providing grid support. Due to a lack of such resources, interconnections are sometimes approved only on the basis of an application review with no on-site visit. Proper assessment of utility-scale DER interconnections and microgrids by a credentialed person would accelerate progress toward a more resilient and environmentally sound grid.

BGE, ComEd, Dominion Energy, Duke Energy and O&R are helping fund, shape and promote the credentialing program. The recently revised IEEE 1547.1-2020 – IEEE Standard Conformance Test Procedures for Equipment Interconnecting Distributed Energy Resources with Electric Power Systems and Associated Interfaces will play a major role in the development of this program.

“Commissioning DER interconnections is an increasingly crucial gap in our industry,” says Joseph Woomer, vice president of grid and technical solutions at Dominion Energy. 

“We are excited to work with IEEE and the other partners in creating a program that will satisfy the industry need for a qualified workforce that is available in the years ahead to support ongoing growth of renewables and other DERs around the world,” he adds.

Adoption of DERs and interest in highly resilient microgrid configurations are growing globally, creating new challenges across the industry. DER vendors must implement new features and capabilities at scale. Utilities must review more DER-interconnection application submissions, with new technologies and capabilities to be considered and understood. Regulators must sometimes update interconnection rules and define how DER interconnections are monitored.

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