Podcast / Audio

Episode #24: ‘DERMS as We Know It is Dead’ with Ben Ealey of SEPA - [an Energy Central Power Perspectives™ Podcast]

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The ‘Energy Central Power Perspectives™ Podcast’ features conversations with thought leaders in the utility sector. At least twice monthly, we connect with an Energy Central Power Industry...

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  • Oct 13, 2020

In the world of energy and utilities, buzzwords and hot concepts have a way of going viral and becoming the most discussed issue at any given conference, journal, or even happy hour, but the natural question is whether or not the excitement and hype behind them is warranted. The world of distributed energy resources, or DERs, is a strategy that’s moved past simple hype and into an established and rapidly growing cornerstone of the utility business, but it’s also dragged with it one of those buzzwords that could still go in either direction: DERMs, or distributed energy resource management systems.

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Ben Ealey, Principal of Grid Integration at the Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA), has followed DERs and DERMS closely since they broke onto the scene, and he’s here to declare once and for all that DERMS as we know it is dead. What exactly does that mean, how did the rise and death happen so quickly, and where does the industry go from here? These are just a few of the questions that Ben walks Jason Price, host of the Power Perspectives Podcast, and Matt Chester, producer of the podcast, through in this thought-provoking episode. And with just a few weeks left until Halloween, we’re forced to ask: will this death be final or will DERMS rise again?


Key Links:

Ben Ealey’s Energy Central Profile: https://energycentral.com/member/profile/259176/about

As a reminder, the Energy Central Power Perspectives™ Podcast is always looking for the authors of the most insightful articles and the members with most impactful voices within the Energy Central community to invite them to discuss further so we can dive even deeper into these compelling topics. Posting twice per month (on the second and fourth Tuesdays), we'll seek to connect with professionals in the utility industry who are engaging in creative or innovative work that will be of interest to their colleagues and peers across the Energy Central community. Some podcasts may be a continuation of thought-provoking posts or discussions started in the community or with an industry leader that is interested in sharing their expertise and doing a deeper dive into hot topics or issues relevant to the industry.

The Energy Central Power Perspectives™ Podcast is hosted by Jason PriceCommunity Ambassador of Energy Central. Jason is a Business Development Executive at West Monroe, working in the East Coast Energy and Utilities Group. Jason is joined in the podcast booth by the producer of the podcast, Matt Chester, who is also the Community Manager of Energy Central and energy analyst/independent consultant in energy policy, markets, and technology.  

If you want to be a guest on a future episode of the Energy Central Power Perspectives™ Podcast, let us know! We’ll be pulling guests from our community members who submit engaging content that gets our community talking, and perhaps that next guest will be you! Likewise, if you see an article submitted by a fellow Energy Central community member that you’d like to see broken down in more detail in a conversation, feel free to send us a note to nominate them.  For more information, contact us at community@energycentral.com. Podcast interviews are free for Expert Members and professionals who work for a utility.  We have package offers available for solution providers and vendors. 

Happy listening, and stay tuned for the next episode in a few weeks! Like what you hear, have a suggestion for future episodes, or a question for our guest? Leave a note in the comments below.

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Thanks to the sponsors of this episode of the Energy Central Power Perspectives Podcast: West Monroe, Esri, Guidehouse, and Hancock Software

Steven Collier's picture
Steven Collier on Oct 15, 2020

What one names it or what acronym it is given is really beside the point. The fact is that it will be necessary to monitor, analyze and control distributed energy resources as they rapidly proliferate. They will increasingly affect the reliability, resilience, efficiency, economy, sustainability of the electric grid.


Maybe instead of DERMS we just call it DERM? There will be more and more distributed energy resources and they will require management.

Eric Van Orden's picture
Eric Van Orden on Oct 26, 2020

What came first DERMS or DERs? I think we know the straightforward answer. But, as Ben Ealey talks about semantics, doesn't the term "resource" in DER imply that there is a value [to the grid]? Is it a DERMS or DMS that helps capture that value from the DERs?

Rhetoric aside, I like the idea of parsing out the functions. Smart Electric Power Alliance identified five functions within a DERMS: 1) aggregation, 2) simplification, 3) automation, 4) information, and 5) forecasting. 

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Apr 6, 2021

FYI: Ben recently shared an update on the progress of DERMS in a post to Energy Central, read it here: https://energycentral.com/c/pip/derms-terms-%E2%80%93-going-beyond-buzzword

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