Puget Sound Energy I Electric Power Utility
Puget Sound Energy (PSE) is the largest energy utility in Washington, providing electric power to more than 1 million customers.
When Washington passed the Clean Energy Transformation Act (CETA), requiring carbon neutrality by 2030 and 100% clean energy by 2045, PSE launched a Clean Energy Strategy team to prepare and file its Clean Energy Implementation Plan (CEIP). This was going to be a considerable undertaking, but the team knew where to turn. West Monroe has provided comprehensive distributed energy resource (DER) strategy and other expertise over two years of partnership on various clean energy initiatives—and we were ready to get right back to work.
Just over a year later, PSE not only had a sound plan for introducing DER programs to meet its clean energy targets, it also had a head start on a DER enablement operating model that will bring that plan to life and enable measurable environmental impact.
incremental DERs by 2025
energy mix from clean energy sources by 2025
Under the CETA, PSE must communicate its plan for making progress toward meeting the clean energy transformation standards, which include DER targets and proposed programs. To prepare its regulatory filing, PSE needed to define and prioritize the types of DER customer programs to include as well as the enabling organizational, process, and technology changes required to deliver those programs. Time was of the essence—so PSE turned to West Monroe.
Our team brought a unique combination of experience—extensive expertise and familiarity with PSE’s operations and plans—in developing and executing clean energy strategies. This experience made us the perfect partner to support PSE across a series of related projects with tight deadlines.
Our breadth of experience and multidisciplinary perspectives meant we could be there for the Clean Energy Strategy team through each step of preparing its regulatory filing. That continuous presence helped keep a complex effort on track.
Through a series of engagements, we collaborated to define how PSE would employ DER programs to increase clean energy resources in the region and help customers participate and benefit from the clean energy transition:
Analysis and business case: We benchmarked and screened DER concepts, then developed the framework and associated model for cost benefit assessments. This provided a multi-perspective view of impacts across the utility, host customers, and society per guidance of the National Standard Practice Manual.
DER portfolio selection: We helped derive the preferred portfolio selection methodology and selected the concepts to include in PSE’s DER portfolio. This included an analysis to prioritize concepts based on the respective benefits (e.g., lowest cost or highest customer benefits). The resulting portfolio represented a diverse set of programs for all customer groups, including a focus on distributed solar and battery storage that expands participation within the service area and in traditionally underserved populations.
Roadmap: Utilizing our breadth of DER operating model expertise, we then developed a four-year plan for making the key organizational, process, and technology changes required to implement the DER portfolio.
Regulatory filing: Building off that work, we then worked with PSE to prepare its CEIP filing with the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission, which outlines the utility’s plans for achieving carbon neutrality and 100% clean energy by the respective deadlines. This included critical narrative around the utility’s DER portfolio selection process and priorities as well as the high-level plan for implementing the portfolio successfully. Additionally, our team provided testimony support for the general rate case as it relates to the CEIP.
The digital engine: Being digital is the key to making it all work. That’s how PSE will keep everything connected and harness data to drive progress. Making organizations digital is what we do—so our team was ready to assist. We helped PSE develop requirements and select a Virtual Power Plant (VPP) platform, a critical enabler to meeting the utility’s 100% clean energy targets while maintaining a safe and reliable electric grid.
Finally, we helped PSE establish a program management office to manage DER-related commitments and enabling technologies.
West Monroe was an incredible partner in forming our first clean energy plan. Their expertise and knowledge in the area of DERs, grid modernization and enabling systems helped us to build a roadmap for how to implement these new resources effectively.
As the result of our work together, PSE now has a clear vision and action plan for delivering on not only the state’s mandates but also the utility’s interim goals. PSE estimates that 63% of its energy mix will come from clean energy sources by 2025.
The utility also has tools to evaluate DER program costs and benefits and provide sound justification in a regulatory setting. By preparing a clear and defensible DER plan for its clean energy filing, PSE can expect more favorable outcomes—for example, streamlined approval of DER tariffs and acceptance of program details and enabling investments—as it moves through the regulatory process.
Finally, by defining the requirements for and procuring a best-in-class VPP platform, PSE can centrally dispatch customer energy resources across its 6,000-square mile territory, thereby improving operational efficiencies and saving customers money.
* 2021 PSE Clean Energy Implementation Plan
West Monroe has a strong team of experts with extensive background in this field, who supported this effort with efficiency, timeliness and organization to communicate a clear picture for how we could execute our clean energy transition. Even with taking on such novel and unchartered territory, the West Monroe team was poised and excited to help us determine how to create a clear path forward.