Notice of Energy Commission Workshop Advanced Power Electronics Interfaces for Distributed Energy Resources
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[California Energy Commission Letterhead]

Notice of Energy Commission Workshop

Advanced Power Electronics Interfaces for
Distributed Energy Resources

AGENDA (PDF file, 1 pgs, 16 kb) Posted: August 14, 2006.

The Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) staff at the California Energy Commission and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) staff will conduct a one-day workshop to assess the status of power electronics for distributed energy applications. The workshop will include an overview of research in the United States and Europe on modular and high volume power electronics, as well as a summary of work underway and planned by the PIER under a new Advanced Power Electronics Interface (APEI) Initiative.

8:00 a.m.
1516 Ninth Street
First Floor, Hearing Room A
Sacramento, California
(Wheelchair Accessible)


The purpose of this workshop is to provide industry stakeholders with an update of the status of technologies and issues in power electronics. This workshop will focus on the development of advanced power electronic interfaces for Distributed Energy Applications and will include a discussion of modular power electronics, component manufacturing, and power electronic applications.

During the morning session, selected speakers will give updates on current advances in modular power electronics research and component design. During the afternoon session industry representatives from companies that currently design and build power electronics interfaces for distributed energy applications will hold a discussion. All information and conclusions from this workshop will be published as a CEC-NREL publication


California's goals are to promote clean small generation resources located at load centers. In order to expand the use and application of distributed generations (DG), the Energy Commission's research and development is focusing on technology opportunities in areas such as power electronics.

The Energy Commission-PIER Strategic Distributed Energy Resources Research Assessment (October 2001) identified strategies in the interconnection area, which could allow for a substantial amount of distributed energy resources (DER) to be interconnected in radial and networked systems. These strategies fall into three strategic R&D thrusts for DER: 1) Standardization and adoption of new requirements and processes, 2) Cost reduction and product improvement, and 3) Compatibility.

Standardization of interfaces has been identified as a significant barrier surrounding power electronics. There are public and privately funded projects addressing the standardization / interoperability issue, but research is still needed.

Today, power electronic components of DG systems are specialized designs that are custom engineered for each DG system. This results in higher initial costs and recurring costs for maintenance and repair. In some cases, capital costs for power electronics can be as high as 45% of the total DG system cost as shown in the figure and table below.

Power electronics is a continuously expanding and dynamic discipline and there is much potential in reducing the overall capital and recurring costs of DG systems. With the development of solid-state based packages, power electronics devices can now convert almost any form of electrical energy into a more desirable and usable form of DER. The high-speed response of these new devices can enable advanced applications, such as forming intentional islands (Micro-grids) for high reliability applications and reducing fault current of DG to a level that does not exist today.

Standardized electrical interfaces, connections, and communications will be needed to achieve a truly universal plug-and-play environment for interconnection that benefits the customer and the utility grid. With standardized cross-DG system capability, near-universal functionality for load management and grid support can be achieved for all DG system resources, including micro-turbines, fuel cells, reciprocating engines, solar, wind, and energy storage.

Written Comments

Written comments on the workshop topics must be submitted by 5:00 p.m. on September 8, 2006. Send comments to:

Jose Palomo
California Energy Commission
1516 9Th Street MS 43
Sacramento, CA 95814-5512

Note: The Energy Commission and NREL encourage comments by e-mail. Please include your name or organization's in the name of the file. Those submitting comments by electronic mail should provide them in either Microsoft Word format or as a Portable Document (PDF).

Public Participation

The Energy Commission's Public Adviser, Margret J. Kim, provides the public assistance in participating in Energy Commission activities. If you would like information on how to participate in this workshop, please contact the Public Adviser's Office by phone at (916) 654-4489 or toll free at (800) 822-6228, by FAX at (916) 654-4493. If you have a disability and require assistance to participate in this workshop, please contact Lou Quiroz at (916) 654-5146 at least five days in advance.

News media inquiries should be directed to Claudia Chandler, Assistant Executive Director, at (916) 654-4989.

For technical questions on the subject matter, please call Jose Palomo, Associate Electrical Engineer, (916) 654-4388 or

Commissioner and Presiding Member
ER&D Committee

Commissioner and Presiding Member
ER&D Committee

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