ORIGINAL REPORTING: Distributed Energy Resources On The Rise
The DER pivot: Grid Edge Forum illustrates utility shift toward a distributed grid; Momentum is gathering behind a utility sector turn to distributed energy resources, conference attendees said.
Herman K. Trabish, June 23, 2016 (Utility Dive)
Editor’s note: The regulatory effort to bring distributed resources into the system has accelerated since this piece ran.
A fundamental transition is underway in the utility system. Increasingly, the old grid model one-way power flows from centralized generation to the customer is being supplanted by a more distributed energy system, where consumers produce and store their own energy, as well as manage their usage. The grid edge — the intersection of the utility distribution system and consumer usage — provides new opportunities for a variety of stakeholders. For consumers, it’s a place where they can enhance their electric reliability, lower their costs and help serve grid needs. And for utilities, the grid edge offers the opportunity to avoid massive system investments, strengthen consumer relationships and create a more sustainable grid.
The utility industry has been evolving for the last 40 years. In the 1970s, the industry responded to the energy crises. In the 1980s, it saw demand side management and time of use prices emerge and changed in response. In the 1990s, wholesale markets opened, utilities began to diversify their portfolios, and energy service companies started to flourish. More recently, utilities have been responding to new resources, advanced meter rollouts, and business model reforms. While those changes were all significant, today’s emerging distributed energy resources (DER) are changing the system architecture. Utilities are working to manage the new resources and be “navigators” on the new system… click here for more