Electricity grids across the nation are undergoing a rapid transition. Principle among these contributors is the increased adoption of distributed energy resources (DER). As the prevalence of DER dramatically expands across the country, utilities and industry experts are wrestling with how to effectively and equitably incorporate them into the greater bulk electric system. Experts are increasingly asking the same question: do DER complement or frustrate this grid transition?
This paper, authored by GridLab and Gridworks, in collaboration with Utah Clean Energy and funded through a Department of Energy Solar Market Pathways grant, explores the capabilities of DER, with emphasis on how these capabilities compliment the integration of utility-scale renewable development, while simultaneously providing unique grid services, such as flexibility. The paper further examines three case studies highlighting situations in which utilities have openly embraced the capabilities of DER to the benefit of their consumers.