Distributed Energy Resource Growth

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Note from the editor

Distributed energy resources, including rooftop solar, battery storage and electric vehicles, are experiencing significant growth in the U.S. as the power sector evolves to a cleaner, less centralized future.

That growth is expected to provide enough cumulative capacity by the early 2020s to flatten power sector peak demand, according to GTM Research.

It also presents tremendous opportunities for utilities if they can act quickly, a recent Boston Consulting Group report found.

But what's propelling the rise of distributed resources and what are the obstacles to more growth?

This trendline examines the experiences of various utilities, vendors, states and grid operators to provide a comprehensive picture of a burgeoning field at the heart of the energy transition.

Larry Pearl Senior Editor

Austin housing project offers Tesla large-scale test bed to address challenges with energy products

• Published July 21, 2021

Amid rising rooftop solar battles, emerging net metering alternatives could shake up the sector

A “holistic product bundle” of DER could offer not "just a transition" but "a just transition,” tariff analysts say.

• Published March 18, 2021

'A total mindshift': Utilities replace gas peakers, 'old school' demand response with flexible DERs

Utility-customer cooperation can balance renewables' variability with flexibility without using "blunt" demand response or natural gas.

• Published March 8, 2021

Texas must increase ties to the national grid and DER to avoid another power catastrophe, analysts say

Planning for inter-regional transmission and distributed resources could do what ERCOT’s competitive, energy-only market didn’t – keep the heat and lights on, energy advisors say.

• Published March 2, 2021

2021 Outlook: The DER boom continues, driving a 'reimagining' of the distribution system

As new customer-owned resources grow, the old way of delivering them will evolve to make load more flexible.

• Published Jan. 12, 2021

As conflict rises over utility DER ownership, a Duke Florida program could offer a way forward

Regulators must decide how to separate regulated and private markets as both see ownership of rooftop and community solar.

• Published Oct. 23, 2020

Want a more distributed and lower cost power system? Try this new planning tool

Vibrant Clean Energy offers system modeling to match today's granularity and breaks the barrier between bulk system and distribution system planning.

• Published Jan. 28, 2021

Ensuring DER inclusion in capacity markets may require a rethink of resource adequacy

The growth of customer-owned resources is forcing system operators and aggregators to see their value as reliability tools and rethink the concept of resource adequacy.

• Published Aug. 24, 2020

Increasing renewables and DER demand new reliability approach, but California is falling short, groups say

Resource adequacy's planning reserve margin worked when supply and load were stable, but new system realities demand a more dynamic approach to protect reliability, groups say.

• Published April 15, 2020

Microgrid of the future emerges in Washington as Avista preps transactive DER project

New building control systems and a pair of solar+storage systems will test the business case for greater integration of distributed energy resources.

• Published July 15, 2020