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Increasing Hosting Capacity

Updated February 2, 2018


New York State utilities are seeking to increase the amount of distributed energy resources (DER) the grid can accommodate—otherwise known as hosting capacity—while continuing to maintain grid reliability. REV Connect invites innovative ideas and business models that work in partnership with utilities to explore alternatives to traditional grid-side solutions for interconnecting DER, particularly intermittent renewable energy (RE) projects, and to increase the hosting capacity of distribution systems and substations.

Possible utility partnership opportunities could include:

  • Improving grid capabilities to accommodate DER solutions such as solar generation and other distributed generation (DG) technologies
  • Providing energy storage solutions as a key component for increasing hosting capacity
  • Building communication systems and platforms that provide control over local circuits and DER units
  • Developing approaches to increase hosting capacity by resolving voltage, thermal, and protection violations that limit additional DER, as described in the Supplemental Distributed System Implementation Plan (DSIP) (see table below in REV Context)

Utility-Specific Interests

Utility Propose Ideas Via Interests
Central Hudson REV Connect Interested in solutions for increasing hosting capacity that can also help DER developers manage interconnection costs, including examining how storage can complement solar
Con Edison REV Connect Interested in solutions for hosting capacity that address the unique challenges posed by a low voltage network system and customers on isolated networks
O&R REV Connect Seeking additional smart inverter technologies to test with partners as part of a hosting capacity demonstration project currently under development
National Grid REV Connect Interested in opportunities that address specific system needs, allow market participants to identify opportunities, and allow utilities to adopt an integrated approach to planning, investment, and operations
NYSEG and RG&E N/A Not currently seeking partners for increasing hosting capacity


REV Context

The REV vision of the distributed system platform (DSP) and the associated Clean Energy Standard (50% RE by 2030) goals require high deployments of DER. This, in turn, requires a grid that can cost-effectively meet the needs of DER expansion.

The Joint Utilities (JU) have developed a summary of needs and opportunities for increasing hosting capacity in their Supplemental DSIP, as summarized here.

Opportunities for Increasing Hosting Capacity, as Described in the Supplemental DSIP

Category Method Description
Grid-Side Enhancements Communication and Control Awareness of DER operation at any given time would assist in performing load transfers to avoid problems. If coordinated with existing utility voltage regulation, DER issues involving voltage problems can be remedied—or at least somewhat abated. Moreover, if DER can provide needed services when called upon, they could also provide beneficial support to the grid.
Operational Changes Voltage Regulation Several technologies are available that can help regulate voltage on a distribution feeder with DER, including traditional, mechanically switched regulation equipment (line regulators), solid state transformers, or other grid-edge distributed volt/volt-ampere reactive (Volt/VAR) control, and advanced static-controlled regulation to increase hosting capacity.
Relay Setting Modification The largest impact that DER has had on existing protection practices is on the coordination of feeder protective device settings. For example, in some cases, DER-induced reverse power flow can cause inadvertent tripping of protection equipment, requiring the use of direction-based protection schemes or directional relaying.
Customer-Side Enhancements Smart Inverters One approach to mitigating many of the voltage issues caused by DER is to allow DER to provide power factor or VAR control. Nearly all large DER interconnecting to the grid has power factor control capability. When high DER output and low load cause feeder voltage to rise too high, reducing the active power output of the DER may reduce overvoltage. Therefore, reducing the active power output of DER systems through localized voltage conditions may allow more of the DER, such as solar photovoltaics (PV), to share the voltage headroom on the distribution transformer.
Distributed VAR Control Inverter-based reactive power control allows the utility to regulate potential adverse voltage changes that can be caused by load or DER. These technologies have been used to mitigate voltage flicker issues caused by rapidly varying loads such as chippers, arc furnaces, and car crushers. Because this technology is inverter-based, it can regulate voltage much more quickly than mechanically based regulation. In addition, it is not subject to the same wear and tear as found in regulators.


Utilities can propose and earn shareholder performance incentives—known as earnings adjustment mechanisms— for improving interconnection processes for DG projects.


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