What is Integrated Distribution Planning (IDP)?


Integrated Distribution Planning (IDP) is a holistic method of electric utility planning. It involves a distribution system, distributed energy resources (DERs), and customer demand. Apart from this, IDP uses various tools to optimize the distribution network performance.

IDP further aims to maximize the use of DERs by integrating them into the planning processes. The conventional approach to distribution planning involves analyzing the current and future requirements.

Next, it identifies and prioritizes infrastructure investments to fulfill those requirements. However, this method overlooks the potential benefits of DERs, such as solar panels, batteries, and electric vehicles.

In contrast, IDP includes these resources in the planning process to determine the most cost-effective and efficient way to fulfill the system’s needs.

What are the IDP Advantages?

Here are a few Integrated Distribution Planning (IDP) advantages that you need to know about:

1. IDP can enhance the reliability and resilience of the distribution system. By integrating DERs into the planning process, utilities can identify opportunities to use these resources to improve the overall performance of the system.

For example, a utility might use customer-installed solar panels and storage to provide backup power during outages or reduce the impact of a large-scale outage by isolating sections of the system and supplying power to critical loads.

2. IDP can assist utilities in achieving their renewable energy and greenhouse gas reduction goals. By incorporating DERs into the planning process, utilities can identify opportunities to increase the use of renewable energy and decrease greenhouse gas emissions.

For instance, a utility might use customer-installed solar panels to offset the need for fossil-fuelled generation during peak demand periods.

3. Lastly, IDP can provide benefits to customers. They can identify opportunities and provide customers with new services and products to meet their needs.

For example, a utility might work with a customer to install rooftop solar panels and storage to lower their energy costs or provide electric vehicle charging infrastructure to promote the adoption of electric vehicles.

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