What Is Distributed Energy Resources?

Gabrielle Anderson Release: December 5, 2022 Update: December 8, 2022

Electricity-generating assets that are made accessible to a utility on demand are known as distributed energy resources (DERs). They are combined to form Virtual Power Plants, which can be utilized to boost the share of renewable energy in the power grid.

Virtual power plants aggregate distributed energy resources, including batteries, to satisfy grid requirements. They are an excellent choice for grid balancing and can help to minimize reliance on fossil fuels. They also store excess energy and sell it at low costs, increasing grid resilience.

Virtual DERs might be made up of a single type of asset or a combination of several. For example, behind-the-meter diesel generators and solar panels could be combined. Each virtual DER has its own set of operational parameters. Virtual power plants can generate several megawatts of electricity.

Virtual distributed energy resources are becoming a more common energy distribution alternative. Traditional top-down power distribution models do not apply to distributed energy resources such as solar panels and wind turbines, and some of these resources may be created by customers. VDPs are networks of decentralized energy sources that collaborate with flexible energy consumers and storage devices.

DERs and the Home

What is the operation of distributed energy resources?

Small, localized generation units constitute distributed energy resources. They are becoming more common in many markets and are typically “behind the meter,” generating electricity close to the point of use. This enables them to lower a customer’s electricity price while also improving system reliability.

These power plants are often powered by natural gas or wind energy. Some are linked to lower voltage distribution lines, while others operate independently. The use of various energy sources lessens the demand for long-distance transmission lines. They also improve commercial operations’ efficiency by lowering total energy expenses. Many businesses use these technologies as a backup power source as well.

Power distribution becomes more stable and resilient when more distributed energy sources are used. This reduces the likelihood of blackouts, brownouts, and system failure. Furthermore, distributed energy resources can be used to establish local microgrids that can be disconnected from the larger grid in the event of a system-wide outage. Finally, these resources can aid in the improvement of grid dependability and the resilience of communities to climate change and extreme weather occurrences.

Distributed energy resource features

Because of issues like power quality, rolling blackouts, and rising pricing caused by increased demand for electricity, many utility consumers are exploring for alternate energy sources. The term “distributed energy resources” (DERs) refers to small-scale power producing facilities that are positioned near their users. They can be utilized in a variety of ways to supplement the regular electric power system.

Demand-side measures and energy storage devices are examples of DERs. Batteries, pumped hydro, and compressed air are among the technologies used to store dispersed energy. They can also be rented as energy storage as a service to businesses and consumers (EsaaS). DERs may also comprise stand-alone hybrid systems that are not connected to the grid.

Electricity generation, transmission, and distribution are being altered by dispersed energy resources. They provide new participants with the potential to own, control, and profit from energy services. These programs include community solar projects, income-based energy efficiency programs, and neighborhood microgrids.

They are assisting people in conserving energy and improving their quality of life by developing these community-based power generation systems. Furthermore, flexibility and decentralization are two of the numerous advantages of distributed energy supplies. They can also supply power system operators with additional services.