Modern Distribution Grid Report

The U.S. Department of Energy is working with state regulators, the utility industry, energy services companies and technology developers to determine the functional requirements for a modern distribution grid that are needed to enhance reliability, resiliency and operational efficiency, and integrate and utilize distributed energy resources (DER). DER as used in this report includes distributed generation, distributed energy storage, energy efficiency, demand response and electric vehicles.

The Modern Distribution Grid Report is a three-volume set that is intended to develop a consistent understanding of requirements to inform investments in grid modernization. The requirements include those needed to support grid planning, operations and markets. Volume I, “Customer and State Driven Functionality” provides a taxonomy of functional requirements derived from state policy objectives, and includes a discussion of grid architecture. Volume II, “Advanced Technology Maturity Assessment,” examines the maturity of technology needed to enable the functions presented in Volume I. Volume III is a “Decision Guide” that presents considerations for the rational implementation of advanced distribution system functionality.



Volume I defines the functional scope for a modern grid platform.  This functional articulation employs a taxonomy framework to logically organize the required capabilities and functions based on states’ grid modernization policy objectives and related system attributes based on policy papers and sponsoring commissions’ input. This volume also includes grid architecture context, comparative assessment of industry architectural applications and priority use case scenarios identified by the sponsoring state commissions. Volume I extensively uses existing industry references and has undergone industry peer review from a representative group of utilities, DER service providers, technology firms and research organizations.

Download Volume I: Customer and State Policy Driven Functionality


Volume II consists of a taxonomy of technologies in relation to functions and elements identified in Volume I. This provides the basis for a survey of current commercial technology availability and development. The market assessment identifies the gaps between existing commercial technologies and the needed grid functions and elements to implement specific aspects of a modern grid. This volume also identifies functionality gaps regarding related technical standards and protocols.

Download Volume II: Advanced Technology Market Assessment


Volume III, or the Decision Guide, aims to provide a user guide for the application of the Volume I taxonomy in support of decisions related to the implementation of modern grid functionality. This guide reflects key practical implementation considerations, such as drivers, timing, pre-requisite technologies, legacy transitions, technology adoption and deployment approaches. This volume provides example applications based on the state commissions’ scenarios identified in Volume I.

Download Volume III: Decision Guide