Distributed Energy Resources: Breaking Down Barriers

Distributed Energy Resources

Distributed energy resources (DER) are smaller-scale clean energy resources, such as renewable energy and energy storage resources, located near customer load. In recent years, DERs have made great strides due to market reforms, advanced technologies, and declining costs. Despite these advances, DERs serve less than 1% of electricity load nationally. Many barriers exist to greater deployment of DERs. These barriers include the utility business model, market structure, and regulatory policies.

Sustainable Energy Schneider Electric

Sustainable Energy

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.

Energy Modernization through Microgrids

energy modernization

A microgrid is a discrete energy system consisting of distributed energy sources (e.g. renewables, conventional, storage) and loads capable of operating in parallel with, or independently from, the main grid. The primary purpose is to ensure reliable, affordable energy security for commercial, industrial and federal government consumers. Benefits that extend to utilities and the community at large include lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and lower stress on the transmission and distribution system.

Distributed Energy Resources (DER)

Distributed Energy Resources

Over the past few years, industry activities to create standards for distributed energy resources (DER) management systems have primarily focused on the behaviors of individual DER units and open communication protocols over the field networks that connect directly to these devices. To better integrate and manage many diverse distributed resources, EPRI has been developing functional requirements and communication protocols for distributed energy resource management systems (DERMS) operating in a grid-tied mode (EPRI reports 3002002464 and 3002001249). A recent publication from the Argonne National Laboratory provides the guidelines for implementing advanced distribution management systems (DMS). These activities are intended to provide the industry with a point of reference and to provide guidance to research and standards development organizations.

Energy Storage in Smart Microgrids

Energy Storage

All power systems also require the capability to balance, in real time, differences between load demand and generator output. This balancing capability—which keeps system frequency at the level where it’s designed to operate—is critical to ensure the stability and reliability of the overall power system, for both centralized power grids as well as microgrids. In a centralized grid, fossil-fuel-fired generating plants typically will ramp up or down to ensure demand and generation output remains in balance.