Project Focus: Targeted Benefits

Distributed energy resources (DG) have the potential to provide businesses and consumers with a range of benefits.

Technical Benefits

1. Reliability:

Distributed generation systems, much like distributed data systems,  are far more reliable than centralized systems because multiple small microgrid units are less likely to fail simultaneously than a single large unit. Additionally, the consequences of failure are much less significant for a small unit than a large unit.

  • Increased electric system reliability with localized power production
  • An emergency supply of power during power outages
  • Reduction in vulnerability to terrorism and improvements in infrastructure resilience
2. Flexibility:

Several technologies form the backbone of a DG system. Along with Micro-CHP, some of the most prominent are solar, wind, and hydro. There are also various energy storage systems such as batteries, which stay connected to the grid and hold energy until it’s needed.

3. Upgradability:

DG may help to reduce the cost of maximizing one’s power system by helping to reduce the overall cost of supply through combining various stages and types of energy generation. Such improvements result in improvements in power quality as well as quantity.

4. Economies of Scale:

Renewable energy projects lend themselves to smaller scale and geographic dispersion thereby encouraging the development of a distributed grid. Advances in solar, wind and MMCHP are providing increases in efficiency and quality allowing for greater electricity output per module. These technological advances reduce the need to be bigger.

5. Diversity:

Advances in power generation technology are accelerating as the world moves closer to a sustained future of renewable energy. Solar systems, bio energy systems, lighting and building IT building automation systems, hydronic applications, CO2 recapture technologies, MMCHP and battery storage are the focus of a wide array of research and development that provides greater diversity in the market for practical energy solutions.

Business and Consumer Benefits

1. Cost Effectiveness:

Distributed generation systems serve to lower or eliminate the grid electric bill, reduce demand charges, and provide incentives through tax credits and energy rebates.

2. Increased Efficiency:

The efficiencies resulting from local versus centralized power production serve to not only improve the quality and reliability of service but also eliminate the higher energy prices resulting from long-distance transmission costs.

3. Environmental Sustainability:

Use of lower carbon fuels such as natural gas and propane for power generation during the transition period to a future of maximized renewables assures a gradual adaptation of methods that support the ecosystem while still maintaining energy reliability.

4. Emissions Reduction:

The increased use of distributed energy resources may also help to reduce the overall emissions intensity of the national electricity grid by displacing other more emissions-intensive forms of generation.

5. Maximum Productivity:

Faced with greater competitive pressures for the past decade, European companies have succeeded by using a wide array of productivity levers, far beyond traditional cost reduction and consolidation, to continually improve operational efficiency over the long term. Their experiences indicate that power producers can also capture a significant upside by rethinking their approach to improving operational efficiency. Distributed power generation provides just such benefits.

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