According to lớn the twentieth century model of energy distribution, large power plants fuelled by coal, hydro or gas, generated electricity that was distributed via a centralised grid.

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What is distributed energy resources?

Now the picture has changed. Advancing technology has diversified the grid, adding new sources of energy generation và two-way power flows. Utility-scale wind và solar farms are supplying an increasing proportion of our power. Many Australian households generate their own electricity via rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) panels, which can then be stored using home battery systems. Demand response and smart meters are changing the way we consume electricity, allowing users to lớn reduce consumption during peak periods khổng lồ help balance the grid.

Reliability has emerged as a major concern as the grid struggles to lớn guarantee supply khổng lồ meet increasing demvà, particularly during peak periods when expensive sầu backup generation is required to lớn keep the lights on.

Enter distributed energy resources, known as DER: small-scale units of local generation connected to lớn the grid at distribution level. Read more about it here.

The arrival of DER – a source of decentralised, community-generated energy – and its two-way flow of power is transforming the grid.

DERs can include behind-the-meter renewable and non-renewable generation, energy storage, inverters (electronic devices that change DC, or direct current, lớn AC, or alternating current), electric vehicles và other controlled loads (separately metered appliances like hot water systems). DER also comprises new technology lượt thích smart meters và data services.

Comtháng examples of DERs include rooftop solar PV units, natural gas turbines, microturbines, wind turbines, biomass generators, fuel cells, tri-generation units, battery storage, electric vehicles (EV) và EV chargers, & demand response applications. These separate elements work together lớn form distributed generation.

DER penetration is growing every year. The Electricity Network Transformation Roadbản đồ (ENTR), a joint publication by Energy Networks Australia and the CSIRO, projected that over 40 per cent of energy customers will use DER by 2027. By 2050, that figure will grow to more than 60 per cent.

DER features in the first episode of the ReWired podcast Season 3


The benefits DER brings to the grid

The increasing penetration of DER into lớn the grid comes with a raft of benefits và opportunities for the power system & its participants.

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Affordability is one. Customers with access lớn DER assets can expect to pay less for electrithành phố as they sell power baông chồng to lớn the grid or are compensated for allowing their storage systems to help stabilise the grid, especially during peak periods.

Reduced network costs could also lead to lớn a fall in the overall cost of energy. One study found that investment in DER could reduce network expansion costs by nearly 60 per cent by 2050.

Reliability is another benefit. In areas where there is a high reliance on variable energy resources (VER) like wind and solar, DER can be deployed to help balance the grid và improve its reliability, either reducing dem& or providing energy khổng lồ help smooth out intermittent supply.

A limiting factor is hosting capathành phố, or the amount of DER which can be connected to lớn a distribution network & operated within its technical limits. DERs can be incorporated inlớn the grid where no threats to safety, reliability or other operational features exist và no infrastructure upgrades are required. In many cases, however, grid modernisation is necessary to safely integrate DERs into the network.


California offers a useful case study in DER development. The state is a leading solar producer: rooftop solar penetration is more than 7 percent, và in 2015, 10 percent of California’s energy came from a combination of solar thermal, utility-scale PV và rooftop PV. By 2030, 50 percent of the state’s power will be supplied by VER (wind và solar).

What we are doing is allocating more than $12 million in funding to optimise investment, improve system performance và reduce technical, market, & regulatory barriers to increased uptake of DER in nước Australia.

The funding will be invested in network hosting capathành phố công nghệ and demonstration projects to develop new ways lớn understvà và manage the impacts of high DER penetration in different parts of the distribution network. This will allow networks to lớn connect more DER (such as rooftop solar PV panels) cheaper và faster while reducing costs and operating within the technical limits of the power system. Read about theDER projects we have funded.

Another slice of funding will be allocated to lớn new studies or models that contribute to increasing the value, capathành phố or efficiency of DER, or reducing costs or risks associated with its development and application.

These studies will help networks, retailers, mongkiemthe.comernment & system operators underst& more about the technical and commercial challenges of managing a grid with a high penetration of DER. This could include identifying new ways of managing energy flows, better understanding how consumer behaviour might influence DER take-up or developing local or time-of-day incentives to lớn encourage the use of DER.

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