The Role of Distributed Energy Resources in Today’s Grid Transition

The Role of Distributed Energy Resources in Today’s Grid Transition
06 September 2018

Electricity grids across the nation are undergoing a rapid transition. This is a welcome modernization to an outdated system that was designed over one hundred years ago for one-way power flow to customers from a central source of energy.

Today, technologies like wind and solar are not only providing clean energy, but are also empowering businesses and homeowners with more energy choice and energy independence. Distributed Energy Resources (DER) (including on-site renewable energy, battery storage, smart inverters, energy efficiency, demand response, and electric vehicles) are reshaping the way consumers interact with the electricity grid. The accelerated adoption of renewable energy by utilities coupled with more homes and businesses installing distributed energy resources is prompting our utilities and their regulators to ask the question: do DER complement or frustrate this grid transition?

To help our policymakers and utilities better understand the opportunities DER present, Gridworks, GridLAB, and Utah Clean Energy drafted a report summarizing how clean energy technologies complement our electricity system to create a cleaner, more flexible, more resilient grid.

Key findings from the report include:

  • Distributed energy resources each have distinct strengths and capabilities, and we must take a new approach to recognize and account for the benefits DER can provide to the grid.
  • Distributed energy resources can be combined or deployed as a portfolio in ways that provide valuable services to the grid while also creating new opportunities to improve grid flexibility.
  • When the full capabilities of distributed energy resources are recognized, DER can be valued accordingly and deployed strategically to create a cleaner, more affordable, and more flexible grid.

Download the full report here.