Distribution System Architecture Transformation

Circle diagram showing the various structures that make up the grid coordination framework: communications, industry, control, electric, regulatory, market, and convergent

The U.S. electric distribution system is undergoing significant change due to a range of drivers, including an evolution of federal, state, and local policies addressing climate mitigation and adaptation, as well as an increasingly diverse and distributed set of electricity resources. The changes in the use of the electric distribution system require a new grid architecture, including physical infrastructure, sensing and communication, and system protection, automation, and controls. 

This Distribution System Architecture project will establish the system architecture, referencing designs and functional requirements for a distribution system operational model that fully integrates consumer and community resources into the fabric of a transformed electric grid. The resulting guides will enable practitioners to apply grid architecture principles and concepts in the development of new distribution system architectures and designs, as well as associated grid technology roadmaps. 

The Distribution System and Architecture project will augment the foundational concepts of the Grid Architecture, Modern Distribution Grid Project, and adapt other related industry efforts. From this set of rich architectural material, the project will derive a holistic set of architectural and design considerations to help non-technical decision-makers plan for distribution system transformation. This will also involve technical guides to assist distribution system planners, architects, and engineers in application of the key capabilities, architectural considerations, and reference system designs in their distribution transformation plans and execution. This includes considerations for the development of grid operational and information technology roadmaps reflecting the unique journey for each locale and utility.

S-curve graph showing the optimal scope and scale of integration and use of distributed energy resources from the year 2000 through the year 2040, showing that we are at the middle of the S-curve in 2023.


Grid Architecture: Foundational Report

Grid Architecture 2: Advanced Concepts for Grid Architecture

Operational Coordination across Bulk Power, Distribution and Customer Systems

Common Grid Services: Terms and Definition Report

Energy Services Interface: Requirements Document

The Distribution System Operator with Transactive (DSO+T) Study

Research topics