ORIGINAL REPORTING: Moving To Customer-Owned Distributed Energy Resources
3 big advances coming as distributed energy resources take newer, bigger roles in 2023; System and customer needs for reliability and resilience are revealing new value and opportunity for DER.
Herman K. Trabish, January 23, 2023 (Utility Dive)
Editor’s note: Customers’ resources and customer demand continue to be key factors in the power system’s energy transition.
Work to build tomorrow’s distribution system will accelerate in 2023 and bring three new insights about distributed energy resources, or DER, despite challenges, analysts say. Uncertainties remain about customer DER adoption and the need for distribution system control technologies, power system stakeholders agreed. But the numbers leave no doubt about fast-rising penetrations of electric vehicles, charging infrastructure and customer-owned solar, batteries and heat pumps, along with smart thermostats, appliances and other devices.
Electric utilities expect customers to “deploy and explore DER for electrification in 2023 across many different technologies and end uses,” said Patricia Taylor, director of Policy Research and Analysis at the American Public Power Association. And the importance of DER “load flexibility” value is growing “as intermittent renewables replace retiring traditional baseload resources,” she added.
Even when some state regulators reduced compensation for DER like residential solar in 2022, they added opportunities for DER like solar-plus-storage in 2023 that offer reliability and resilience, stakeholders noted. “Reliability is a concern virtually everywhere, making once risk-averse regulators, utilities and other stakeholders more open-minded” about DER, said Generac VP, Markets and Programs, Josh Keeling, a former Portland General Electric executive. That urgency “will lead to important decisions in 2023 to advance DER,” he added.
To meet federal and state electrification and decarbonization policies, 2023 will see major advances for DER aggregations in wholesale markets and at the distribution system level, utility representatives, DER advocates and policy analysts agreed. And 2023 may also see new community and consumer stakeholders take a more central role in driving growth, some experts said.
Despite supply chain constraints, residential solar’s “historic” Q3 2022 1.57 GWdc growth in the U.S. was 43% higher than Q3 2021, according to the Q4 2022 Solar Market Insight report from Wood Mackenzie and the Solar Energy Industries Association. And 2022’s estimated 5.8 GWdc installed capacity is expected to reach an estimated 6.2 GWdc in 2023 and 7.5 GWdc in 2027, the report projected…
Residential energy storage’s 161 MW/400 MWh of new capacity in the U.S. in Q3 2022 was also a record, significantly exceeding Q3 2021’s 111 MW/258 MWh, the Q4 2022 Energy Storage Monitor from Wood Mackenzie and the American Clean Power Association reported…Sales of U.S. electric heat pumps will also grow steadily, according to American Heating and Refrigeration Institute data…An estimated 15% increase in North America’s energy efficiency investments from 2015 to 2022 reduced U.S. energy consumption 30% in 2021 and should support continued reductions, according to a Dec. 20 industry report… click here for more