A recent study conducted by industry news source Utility Dive surveyed more than 500 utility professionals to reveal what they view as the biggest threats and opportunities on the horizon. There was a lot of good information, but one thing I noticed was 57% of utilities chose distributed generation as an opportunity.
I have often discussed this topic in other forums and plan to make it one of my primary topics on this blog as well, and in my opinion, distributed generation offers many opportunities, since it exists in a variety of forms and supports many valuable applications. I would include, backup generation, renewable generation, CHP, campus energy, district energy, microgrids, and much more in this. More generally, I’d describe these applications as fueling design options for decentralization of energy supply and delivery. Under the appropriate designs, we can reduce energy losses, increase energy security, and help manage energy costs. The appropriate application of DG, of course, will be specific to the problem and value proposition being addressed.
For utilities, DG offers a cost-effective avenue to evolve its current delivery infrastructure and creates options to potentially extend their regulated business models. Efficiencies gained could enable some component of financing grid modernization projects, creation of new service options, and achieving emission reduction goals. Movements in these directions are seen in many states and countries, but it’s clear that there is still much to be sorted out in the industry.
Some utilities are clearly taking a hard look at their business options with DG. And, some state governments (e.g. CT, NY, NJ) have begun initiatives to promote greater resilience that are favorable for incorporating DG. The expectation would be that other state governments and regional utilities will follow this lead, and we may see a more concentrated movement to extend current centralized designs with DG and decentralized coordination.
How are others seeing DG take shape in the industry?
To access the full results of the Utility Dive survey, click here.
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