There are many drivers for investing in distributed energy resources, but it’s always interesting to take the pulse of the industry to assess current thinking. Last month Enbala took advantage of the large number of utilities attending DistribuTECH 2017 in San Diego and asked attendees to weigh in on which utilities are investing in distributed energy resources (DERs), what types of DERs are in the mix and key factors underpinning successful integration of DERs. More than 100 attendees took the survey, whose results uncovered some very interesting facts about where the industry is today and where it might be heading.
We learned that 18% of the respondents already had a distributed energy resource management system (DERMS) in place, and a whopping 77% said they planned to deploy one in the next 36 months. We also uncovered that meeting grid reliabiity concerns is the #1 driver for distributed energy investments, followed by sustainability/carbon reduction goals and a desire to increase customer choice.
When asked what types of assets would be in their distributed energy mix, utilities said they plan to leverage and control a wide variety of assets, ranging from solar, battery, customer loads, CHP, EVs and more, with no overwhelming preferences cited. When asked how they measure DERMS success, utilities today say that reliability is the most important factor, followed by speed and accuracy, and when it comes to speed, many expected sub-second responses as opposed to the day-ahead or even hour-ahead expectations of yesteryear.
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