Our utility customers have told us their goal is to make procuring energy storage and other distributed energy resources (DER) as straightforward as procuring transformers. Open standards-based interfaces like those created by the MESA Alliance enable a more granular approach to acquiring such assets that minimizes costs while ensuring that the resulting system is well integrated with utility operations and delivers on its goals.
Successful deployments call for a procurement strategy that incentivizes a well-integrated system, while providing competitive pressure to drive down the cost of system components. As the industry matures, the utility’s procurement process can more closely resemble procurement of any other major asset.
Because ESSs and other DER comprise diverse and in some cases evolving technology types (batteries, PCS, BOS equipment, control system software, etc.), early projects employed procurement strategies that introduced higher project risk and excessive costs compared to more traditional utility practices. In some cases, the utility acted as sole system integrator (SI), taking on all aspects of design, procurement, and installation of often unfamiliar technologies. In others, the utility contracted with a single, turn-key SI to deliver a complete ESS, often designed in isolation from utility operations and the grid environment. Both these models deviate significantly from how the majority of utility equipment is designed and installed today, and neither accurately reflect the grid-integrated nature of a well-deployed ESS.
Based on our experience deploying multiple DER projects for utilities with diverse project goals, we have developed two alternative structures for procurement and other project tasks, depending on customer preference. A utility may choose the Owner’s Engineer structure, which keeps the utility in the driver’s seat but supplements them with our experience and expertise to maximize learning and reduce project risk. Alternately, the Doosan GridTech Turnkey structure provides full service on all project tasks, supported by close customer consultation at key decision points throughout the project.