As industrial and large commercial facilities continue to make use of distributed energy resources (DERs) for reliability and sustainability, there will be greater interest and need to interconnect those resources with the local electric utility. The industrial sector has many scenarios that would call for such an interconnection.
An industrial facility—a small manufacturing facility, for instance—may have an agreement with the utility for differential rates, requiring coordination of the DER operation with fluctuating pricing situations. DERs might also need to be brought online in response to a utility contingency. Another example might be a large petrochemical facility with its own power generation and distribution, including substations, distribution circuits, and generation facilities. Those DERs could include natural gas-driven microturbines, diesel generators, solar photovoltaics, and/or energy storage capabilities. At times, those resources could provide power back onto the grid, producing revenue for the industrial owner.
In these scenarios, the facility will have a load-shedding agreement with the local utility or a power purchasing agreement for when they supply power back onto the grid. As a requirement of such agreements, the local utility will typically require certain functions, features, and communication that it needs for that interconnection with that industrial facility. The utility may also require electrical system visibility and even some control functionality inside the industrial facility's electric power system, including generation control and substation configuration.
This is where IEEE 1547: Standard for Interconnecting Distributed Resources with Electric Power Systems can identify for the consulting engineer what functionalities need to be in the control systems.