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Why distributed energy is your next big headache (and what EPRI says to do)

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By Jesse Berst

 

Everywhere I go, utilities are talking about the trials and tribulations of integrating distributed energy resources (DERs), particularly distributed solar. The problem has been creeping up on us for years, but somehow it has crossed the tipping point and is now on everybody's mind.

 

At a recent conference, COO Mike Niggli said that SDG&E had 20 power generators a decade ago. Today it has 2,000 and many of them are outside the utility's direct control.

 

Yes, SDG&E is a pioneer and probably has more PV and more EVs and more microgrids in its territory than anybody else. But a similar future is headed towards all utilities. The forms of the DER may be different -- storage, wind, demand response, microturbines, fuel cells -- but the challenges will be the same.

 

So it was terrific to see that EPRI has released a report that outlines the issues, points to existing solutions and spotlights the gaps where we need to do more work together. Highly recommended.

 

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