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Utilities embracing emerging technologies can reduce customer costs and support a cleaner, more flexible grid, according to a report issued by the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI).

The report 'Non-Wires Solutions Implementation Playbook: A practical guide for regulators, utilities and developers' was issued during the 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP24), in Katowice, Poland.

The report states adopting non-wires solutions can help utility firms to reduce their system infrastructure investments and save customers money.

Expanding portfolios of distributed energy resources (DERs) and using NWS to manage DERs including solar photovoltaics, energy storage, energy efficiency and demand response helps reduce the cost to meet growing grid needs

In addition to providing customer savings while safeguarding reliable service, NWS can support the integration of smart, customer-centered technologies that promote a cleaner, more flexible and resilient grid as well as help energy firms to meet carbon emissions reduction targets.

The report highlights the key barriers that have inhibited more widespread NWS deployment and provides recommendations to overcome them

The report comes at a time regulated utilities have over the past decade spent an average of $55 billion annually upgrading their distribution, transmission and generation infrastructure to meet customer needs.

Jeff Waller, a principal at RMI, said: “Utilities are facing new challenges to support the health of a grid that is aging, alongside new customer demands for energy choice and cleaner energy.

“The proliferation of DERs and the growing ability and confidence of grid planners to integrate them into grid operations promises to lower customer costs, cut emissions and diversify the service offerings utilities can offer their customers. We hope our Playbook can be a valuable resource to speed the delivery of these benefits through the deployment of NWS.”

The report was drafted in partnership with the US Climate Alliance and is available for download here http://www.rmi.org/insight/non-wires-solutions-playbook