Distribution Resources Plans: Track 1 - Methodological Issues


The purpose of Track 1 is to develop methodologies that will accurately estimate and value the location-specific costs and benefits of deploying Distributed Energy Resources (DER) portfolios. DER consists of a variety of small, decentralized grid-connected technologies. Examples of DER include Energy Storage, Electric Vehicles, and Rooftop Solar.


On January 27, 2016, the CPUC issued a Scoping Ruling setting a roadmap for the implementation of utility Distribution Resources Plan (DRP) demonstration and pilot projects. The utilities submitted their DRP Proposals in July 2015.


The Scoping Ruling creates 3 concurrent Tracks to separately address issues of methodology, implementation, and policy.

Track 1 is focusing on the development of two methodologies:   

  • Integration Capacity Analysis (ICA) - determines the available circuit level capacity for additional DERs.    
  • Locational Net Benefits Analysis (LNBA) - values the costs and benefits of DER integration at different locations on the distribution grid.   

Track 1 also authorized computer simulation demonstration projects, related to improving these methodologies:   

  • Dynamic Integration Capacity Analysis (Demonstration Project A)   
  • Optimal Location Benefits Analysis Methodology (Demonstration Project B)  


ORA Position

ORA supports the state’s goals to move the utilities to fully integrate DERs into utility distribution system planning, operations, and investments in order to leverage customer investments in DERs and optimize ratepayers' investment in smart grid technologies to help achieve the state’s climate change goals and grid management benefits.

ORA recommends:

  • Integration Capacity Analysis (ICA): The CPUC should adopt a methodology that promotes increased transparency and uniformity across utilities. The utilities should submit detailed methodologies to the CPUC and stakeholders prior to commencing the computer simulation model (Demonstration Project A). This Demonstration Project should develop reference circuits for comparative analysis.
  • Locational Net Benefits Analysis (LNBA): The LNBA should consist of a comprehensive quantification of DER value and net-benefits at any location on the distribution grid for use in sourcing mechanisms and cost-effectiveness evaluations to help determine where DERs can be most cost effectively deployed on the distribution grid. The LNBA should continue to be refined over time to use new data and adapt to new uses.


ICA and LNBA Workshops

On November 10, 2015 the Commission held a workshop on the ICA and Demonstration Project A. On February 1, 2016 the Commission held a workshop on the LNBA and Demonstration Project B.

Workshop details can be found on the CPUC’s website.


CPUC Rulings on Track 1 Methodologies

On February 18, 2016, the CPUC issued a Ruling requesting stakeholders’ comments on ICA and LNBA methodologies, on ICA and LNBA workshops, and on demonstration projects A and B.


On April 29, 2016, the CPUC issued a Ruling requesting stakeholders’ responses to questions regarding the collection, management, and sharing of data relevant to the DRP. The questions were applicable to the DRP proceeding as a whole but had special relevance to the ICA and LNBA.

  • See ORA’s comments on the April 29 ruling.

On April 19, 2017, the CPUC issued two rulings regarding ICA and LNBA. One Ruling requested comments on the ICA and LNBA final short-term working group reports. The second Ruling requested comments on the long-term refinement process for ICA and LNBA.

On June 7, 2017, the CPUC issued a Ruling setting the scope and schedule for continued long-term refinement of the ICA and LNBA.



CPUC Decision on Track 1 ICA and LNBA

On August 25, 2017, the CPUC issued a Proposed Decision on the ICA and LNBA. The Proposed Decision adopts use cases for ICA and LNBA, adopts a methodology for ICA, orders the IOUs to propose a methodological approach for calculating the LNBA at the Distribution Planning Level, and sets a regulatory schedule for the IOUs to implement the ICA and LNBA. ORA supported the Proposed Decision with minor modifications.

The CPUC voted out a final Decision (Decision 17-09-026) on September 28, 2017.


CPUC Proceeding Docket

See the CPUC Proceeding docket. 

Visit the docket to subscribe to proceeding updates. 


Other Resources

ORA's DRP Portal

ORA DRP Track 2 Webpage

ORA DRP Track 3 Webpage