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Decarbonization coupled with the rise of renewables and government mandates have put pressure on utilities to diversify their energy sources. As federal investments in renewable infrastructure increase and the dynamics in energy market policies change, utilities are poised to incorporate distributed energy resources (DERs) onto their grids like never before. The combination of Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) orders 841 and 2222 and the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) standards 1547 (2018) and 2030 (2011) stand as powerful enablers to create smart infrastructure to better balance and manage the grid of the future.

Policies, however, are out in front of utilities and it will most likely be some time before they are able to fully act. Utilities might be able move more quickly if the Build Back Better stimulus passes under the Biden Administration, giving a transformational boom to the clean energy revolution. This research investigates how progressive utilities are embracing smart infrastructure to provide more flexible and controllable loads on the grid, as well as identify where more innovation is needed.