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Embracing the Future: How Utilities Can Leverage Distributed Energy Resources for Success

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David  Walter's picture
President , Level 3 Solar

I am the author of a # 1 best-selling book, entrepreneur contributor, and owner of a solar company, Level 3 Solar, that helps homeowners eliminate their electric bills. Our local certified solar...

  • Member since 2023
  • 23 items added with 2,750 views
  • Jan 25, 2023

It is a common misconception that utilities should resist the growth of rooftop solar and distributed energy resources (DERs). The truth is utilities should instead embrace the potential that DERs hold for the energy industry. The question is how can utilities effectively manage and integrate the influx of supply from these sources? 

If left unplanned, DERs can present a significant challenge for utilities. They may prove to be an unreliable source of energy, requiring large investments to integrate into the larger grid system. However, if carefully planned and managed, DERs can assist utilities during peak demand and generate new revenue streams. The key is understanding how to integrate DERs into the increasingly digital power grid while working within regulatory frameworks. 

To effectively integrate DERs into the power grid, utilities must first understand the economics of electricity and how they can play a role in the evolving industry. This may involve developing new business models, such as demand response programs or community solar projects to monetize DERs. It may also involve rethinking traditional grid infrastructure and finding ways to accommodate the fluctuating supply from DERs. 

Advanced digital technologies, like smart meters and energy storage systems, can also aid utilities in managing the integration of DERs and improve the overall efficiency of the grid. 

It is important to note that despite the growing role of DERs, the traditional grid will remain the essential center connecting all other system elements, including large central power generation, DERs, and customers at every level. By taking a collaborative and holistic approach, utilities can effectively integrate and manage the influx of supply from DERs, while also fulfilling their core mission of providing reliable and affordable energy to customers. 

In conclusion, utilities should not fear the growth of rooftop solar and DERs but embrace the potential that these sources hold for the energy industry. By understanding how to effectively manage and integrate DERs, utilities can not only accommodate peak demand but also generate new revenue streams. It is time for utilities to adapt to the changing landscape of the energy industry and find a new role in the economics of electricity. 


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