For a century, the power sector has been used to big-time solutions. Utilities built huge generating stations and miles of transmission to serve thousands of people at a time.
But to meet future needs, it could be that the biggest opportunities come in small packages.
As distributed technologies like rooftop solar and battery storage spread, aggregating their capabilities together offers utilities the opportunity to meet bulk power sector needs with an array of smaller resources. This could help defer or replace more costly investment in traditional grid infrastructure, as well as help integrate renewable resources and decrease sector emissions.
But getting from the grid of the past to the multi-resource network of the future is no easy task. It requires not just managing the impacts of countless new resources on utility distribution systems, but designing the software products and market models to allow the new aggregations to meet grid needs.
As in most sectors, DER technology has moved faster than regulations, and today aggregations are largely limited to acting as demand management resources in the nation’s wholesale markets. How can the nascent industry graduate to full-fledged grid resources? That’s what we explore in this Spotlight.
DER aggregation 101: For utilities, smaller resources can go a long way
Demand response programs are one way utilities are optimizing aggregated distributed energy resources. Read More >>
DER aggregation: Sector experts identify emerging trends in a nascent market
Wholesale market changes and new regulatory frameworks are key to expanding the sector. Read More >>
Hiding in plain sight: Aggregated DERs in wholesale power markets
Distributed resources can't yet compete like traditional generators in U.S. power markets, but demand response products allow them a foot in the door. Read More >>
Come together? DER aggregation sparks more confusion than consensus in power sector
Utilities and DER providers have divergent opinions on how the aggregation of distributed resources will develop, according to a recent GTM survey. Read More >>
Greater than the sum: How aggregation is making storage into a software business
Grouping customer-sited batteries can deliver the same benefits as grid-scale storage, DNV-GL says. Read More >>
Stop, collaborate and listen: California stakeholders want to open electric system communications
The state's utilities, DER providers and CAISO outline a new plan that would streamline communications between transmission and distribution operators and DER developers. Read More >>
Connecting the dots: PG&E DERMs pilot aims to manage multiple aggregator platforms
PG&E wants a distributed resource management system that can interact with any vendor's software. Read More >>
DistribuTECH 2017: Why utilities are skeptical about transactive energy
Blockchain-based power trading on the distribution system has captured the imagination of many in the power sector — just not the companies at its center. Read More >>