Distribution R&D for today’s utility environment

North American electric utilities face a unique set of challenges in current operating environments. They are challenged to design “smarter” systems and improve operational efficiency, as the integrity of the physical infrastructure declines and resources become more constrained. To meet these challenges, today’s distribution engineers must be equipped with knowledge and tools that will help them perform effectively within these constraints. GE Energy Consulting has led a consortium of distribution utilities and utility organizations in North America in the DSTAR (Distribution System Testing Application and Research) research and development program. DSTAR collaboratively sponsors near-team, pragmatic distribution research & development (R&D), with the goal of real-time application to everyday system design, operation and maintenance. Throughout DSTAR’s 25-plus years of existence, the consortia has sponsored or executed more than 90 separate projects for more than 30 utilities and utility organizations. The scope of the R&D activities encompasses myriad facets of distribution engineering, including equipment application, system protection, reliability, power quality, and operational efficiency. Member utilities have achieved proven cost savings, improved reliability, and increased operational efficiency due to the collaborative work performed under DSTAR projects. Driven by rapid developments in recent years, DSTAR has been instrumental in providing thought leadership for distribution utilities, providing white papers, industry perspectives, and critical analysis of technology. Recent work on the impact of distributed energy resources, strategies for improving utility energy efficiency, and the changing nature of loads has provided valuable guidance for members as they navigate the uncertain path toward grid modernization and efficiency goals.

For more information, please visit our external site www.dstar.org