Imagine a world where green, renewable sources are supplying most or all of the energy needed for every purpose: lighting, heating, processes, and transportation. Imagine that energy consumers are able to proactively choose which energy source they want to consume. Imagine an electricity supply that is completely reliable. Imagine a typical business or institution spends much less on their energy consumption, or actually generates revenue from it.
As the global energy landscape continues to evolve, campuses, institutions, businesses, and municipalities are beginning to use new sustainable energy technologies to take direct control of energy sustainability, reliability, and cost. Local microgrids are being formed by dynamically managing a variety of distributed sustainable energy resources, including loads, onsite renewable energy production, and energy storage. And by connecting the energy consumer to the smart grid, new information and control platforms are enabling participation in programs that fully monetize the flexibility of these assets.
Over the past several decades, growing energy consumption, along with a combination of intermittent renewable energy generation, and severe weather events have contributed to electrical grid instability and energy price volatility. Electricity grid operators and utilities are taking steps to address these challenges in a variety of ways, including looking to the demand side for help.
As part of smart grid modernizations, remunerative programs are being launched or expanded that encourage energy consumers to adjust their consumption in response to pricing signals, penalties, or curtailment requests. Due to this potential flexibility, energy-consuming loads and any onsite energy generation capabilities are now considered important distributed energy resources (DER), critical to helping balance the grid.