The future of smart distributed energy resources integration

Smart grids will mitigate the variable nature of solar and wind DERs, as well as support overall grid stability and reliability.

No longer is there any question whether distributed energy resource (DER) penetration will continue to increase in every corner of the United States. Indeed, the only remaining question is how utilities will integrate those resources into their existing networks. For a host of reasons “smart” integration, i.e., development of a smarter grid, is becoming the preferred choice.

In spite of the challenges utilities confront in creating a smart grid, the effort promises significant benefits above and beyond the expansion of renewable energy. As a recent report for the California Energy Commission (CEC) notes: “The investment in doing so… is desirable or even necessary for reasons other than reducing carbon emissions – namely, economy and reliability of electric service.” Further, the CEC report states there are advantages for utilities to begin or expand the process of developing a smarter grid, no matter what their level of DER penetration.

Certainly, a smarter grid will mitigate the variable nature of solar and wind DERs, but it will also support overall grid stability and reliability, while maximizing benefits to stakeholders by using the most economic technologies, design, and operating approaches. And while there is still work to be done on universal standards to make DER integration easier, the work done now to make electric grids smarter overall is an investment that will offer immediate returns.

For more information on this topic, download the white paper: “The ‘smart’ approach: Integrating distributed energy resources.

I’ll be on hand Wednesday, February 4, 2015 in the Smart Bar at Distributech in San Diego, California to answer all your smart grid questions in ABB’s booth 1421.


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About the author

Gary Rackliffe

Hello, I lead Smart Grid Development for ABB North America. I have more than 25 years of industry experience in both transmission and distribution (T&D) and have worked with ABB for 19 years across a variety of positions. I hold a bachelor’s and master’s degree in electric power engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and an MBA degree from Carnegie Mellon University.
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