A Distributed Energy Resources Primer

What Are Distributed Energy Resources?

Distributed energy resources (DER) are decentralized systems that provide electricity and are located close to the demand they serve. A DER solution can be solely focused on energy generation, energy storage or a combination of the two. These systems are most often 10 megawatts or less, but DER systems can be configured to meet a variety of power needs. DER systems may be grid connected or deployed in stand-alone applications.

Why Consider DER Systems?

DER systems can be deployed by power consumers to achieve various objectives:

  • Ensure reliable power by augmenting current energy services
  • Operate independently of the electric grid
  • Lower emissions and improve fuel utilization on site
  • Leverage the byproduct of industrial processes for power generation
  • Increase the mix of renewable energy used to achieve corporate sustainability goals

DER Deployment May Also be Attractive to Power Utilities in Order to:

  • Reduce the need to build-out costly additional power generation capacity, transmission lines, and distribution equipment and infrastructure
  • Provide enhanced service reliability
  • Reduce energy losses caused by long distance power transmission

DER power generation can be from both renewable sources such as wind turbines, photovoltaics (PV), and  fuel cells, or traditional combustion microturbines & turbines, reciprocating engines, and cogeneration.

As a distributed energy resource, MTPV’s EBLADE Power Platform can harness the byproduct of existing industrial and agricultural processes to create clean energy fueled by:

  • Waste heat: the energy released during the manufacture of glass, steel, cement etc.
  • Methane & biogas: the gases released as a byproduct of oil & gas drilling, mining and landfill gas capture
  • Biomass: the energy available from agricultural crop byproducts and other waste materials

As important as it is to produce energy, it is often equally important to have energy on reserve in case of demand peaks, power cost surges, and emergencies.  It is impossible to predict what the demand for power will be at a given moment, and in the wake of recent events where we have witnessed an unprecedented number of natural disasters, energy storage is invaluable to keeping lights on and processes flowing if an area is faced with a power crisis.

With the deployment of DER technologies, energy may be extracted from a variety of sources, and any excess produced can be stored or fed back to the grid for profit via net metering. In simple terms, net metering effectively “turns” an electricity meter back, reducing your monthly energy bill. The installation of additional metering equipment is necessary in order to achieve this.

An emerging concept in microgrid metering is the use of blockchain technology for billing. By adding blockchain to the process of billing for distributed power generation, the process becomes more secure and more efficient. With every energy transaction stored in a distributed blockchain ledger, it simplifies the tracking of every transaction that has occurred. This also opens the market for individuals without DER systems to buy electricity from those who have an excess supply.

The significance of DER lies in opportunity for increased efficiency and flexibility by producing electricity locally from renewable and traditional resources. These sources may all connect to the grid or a micro grid and allow each power source to function individually. Local production significantly reduces transmission losses, which can be as high as 8% in a traditional solution, and reduce the need for capital intensive and long lead time infrastructure projects. In time, DERs will allow residential and business customers to architect their own power ecosystem.


We Want To Hear From You

Is your organization developing a plan to leverage DER? We would love to get your feedback in the comment section below

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