Preparing For Your Distributed Future

on June 20, 2013 at 4:00 PM

Western States Look To Alternative Energy Sources

Everywhere I go, utilities and the vendors who serve them are talking about the advent of distributed generation. They all agree that DG will be a disruptive force, even if they disagree how quickly it will hit critical mass.

Your future is a distributed one, so it’s not too soon to start thinking through the implications for your utility and for your own career. That’s why I thought you might like to see the DG primer authored by GE’s John McDonald, a distinguished member of IEEE’s Power Engineering Society. I’ve summarized some of his key points below, or read his full article at Renew-Grid.com– By Jesse Berst

We can define distributed generation (DG) as generation resources on the distribution grid. It most commonly takes the form of diesel generators or rooftop solar.

The three DG benefits most highly valued by smart grid executives are:

  • Adding supply where needed
  • Reducing costs
  • Improving reliability

Three main forces are driving us toward DG: policy, reliability and economics. Policy is a strong driver in Europe, which has had mandates and incentives in place since the early 1990s. Europe’s unified policy environment may spur more rapid adoption than in the state.

Reliability is a strong driver where energy is mission-critical – military bases, hospitals, research laboratories and the like.

Economics come into play frequently on corporate campuses and at factories, where outages have a costly impact. The business case can also be a factor for the utility itself. For instance, DG can often defer the addition of a substation transformer by supplementing capacity during peak periods. Likewise it can often add to supply via combined heat and power (CHP) facilities at industrial sites.

DG forces utilities to install costly controls, protection and/or storage, yet reduces the amount of electricity sold.

Jesse Berst: June 19, 2013 via Smart Grid News

Jesse Berst is the founder and Chief Analyst of SGN and Chairman of the Smart Cities Council, an industry coalition.