White Paper

DERMS: Fact Versus Fiction | Debunking Six Myths about DERs and DERMS

image credit: Enbala
Eric Young's picture
Vice President, Industry Solutions, Enbala

As Enbala’s industry solutions expert, Eric provides expertise throughout use case development and system operations. Eric brings a wealth of experience to client engagements from nearly two...

  • Member since 2020
  • 3 items added with 15,606 views
  • Oct 29, 2020

This item is part of the Distributed Energy Resources - Fall 2020 SPECIAL ISSUE, click here for more

Access White Paper

Industry pundits say that starting in 2021, annual capacity from distributed energy resources will surpass centralized generation worldwide. They also predict that electrical demand could easily double in the coming years. Factors like these signal a profound shift in our power grids and a critical need for new solution platforms that can meet the grid stability and reliability demands of a DER-dominant world.

Encompassing virtual power plants (VPPs) and distribution system flexibility solutions, highly sophisticated enterprise distributed energy resource management systems (DERMS) platforms will become mandatory elements of best-in-class grid management practices.

Your access to Member Features is limited.

But the realities of what is — and what is not — a DERMS are often murky. Is a DERMS a lightweight ADMS? Or perhaps a heavyweight DRMS? Is a microgrid a DERMS? Where does OMS fit into the picture? The DERMS hype cycle is peaking, and not all DERMS are created equal.

This new white paper from Enbala and Guidehouse Insights explores six of the most common myths associated with managing the growing complexity of distributed energy resources. It delineates between fact and fiction, with an eye toward helping utilities and energy retailers better understand the opportunities offered by the technology and navigate its evolution as markets begin to fully leverage the value of these assets.

The myths explored in this new paper include:

Myth 1: All DER assets are created equal
Myth 2: Deploying an ADMS negates the need for a DERMS
Myth 3: Precise forecasts are required for a DERMS to provide value
Myth 4: Real-time control of DER is overkill
Myth 5: DERMS must be installed on-premise
Myth 6: We are not ready for a DERMS

Download the white paper today!

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Oct 28, 2020

Industry pundits say that starting in 2021, annual capacity from distributed energy resources will surpass centralized generation worldwide

This is pretty mindboggling for that to have happened so quickly. I wonder by the end of the decade what portion of residences and businesses will have some sort of DER of their own-- that should be a compelling number to track as well. 

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Sep 23, 2021

Matt, not mind-boggling at all. "Annual capacity from distributed energy resources" is a high-falutin' way to say "anyone who isn't connected to an electricity grid". A function of global population, it's primarily people using cookstoves to burn wood and dung in sub-Saharan Africa, in Indonesia. It has nothing to do with progress, but people living in poverty, without access to clean electricity.

Casting it in these terms, as though solar panels are providing adequate power to billions of the world's least-fortunate citizens, is frankly reprehensible. "DER" offers just another view of the ugly underbelly of renewable energy, which in my opinion, can't die soon enough.

Tim Stelzer's picture
Tim Stelzer on Nov 5, 2020

Great white paper. I appreciate the clear positioning of DERMS w.r.t. DRMS, ADMS, etc to make sense of the alphabet soup of related acronyms. It's exciting to see how modern enterprise software intersects with electricity principles and fundamental physics of the grid.

Dr. Amal Khashab's picture
Dr. Amal Khashab on Nov 11, 2020

Hi , Eric 

Although it is a timely subject , Enbala does not accept yahoo.com as an email provider. Therefor, I could not reach to this white paper. 

Would you make favor by dropping it to my email address:


Best Regards.

Mark Silverstone's picture
Mark Silverstone on Nov 13, 2020

Thanks for this post Eric. FYI - as with Amal I had trouble accessing the white paper.  It would help if "ordinary" e-mail addresses would work.

But the post got me interested in finding out more about DERs and Enbala. 

It is worth noting the Vision of Enbala, the company that commissioned this study:

In 20 years, the electricity industry as we know it will no longer exist.
The grid, its operating systems and utilities as we know them today will disappear, and the grid will invert.
In the Grid 2.0 world, load-side assets will follow generation, reversing a long history of generation following load. No more ramping up CO2 emitting plants. Instead, clean, sustainable distributed energy assets will be tapped so that load is instantaneously increased or decreased to match demand, as it occurs. Energy storage assets become central to the balancing of the grid. In this new energy economy, these assets deliver new, unprecedented value streams for utilities, energy retailers and the customers they serve. The distributed energy economy is here. Are you ready for it?

I am late coming to this discussion, but I have to admit that I find it stunning in its scope, at least to a non-expert (to say the least) in this field.  I find it scary, but inspiring.

As a consumer, I am skeptical that the technology providers can deliver on what they perceive as our best interest, in this case providing electricity when and where I need it.

With respect to this Vision and Myths described in the White Paper, a few questions occur to me:

1. Let’s get specific: I have to admit that the precise definition of “DER” escapes me.  So I can´t know what a DER Management System really does.  The Wikipedia definition says “…electrical generation and storage performed by a variety of small, grid-connected or distribution system-connected devices referred to as distributed energy resources (DER).”  Some gas turbine power seems to be included in this definition.  But, nuclear does not.  I´m afraid that neither Enbala´s “Energy Balance” video nor the “Defining DERMS: A Research Report» are much help.

2. So, I have to ask:   Do DERs include either large or small nuclear as «clean and sustainable»? I will assume not, though I may stand to be corrected.  What if those sources turn out to be cost effective and reliable? And what about if fusion becomes possible?

3. Do large scale (GW) wind plants qualify as DER?

4. The 20 year horizon leaves time to answer those questions. But will it be the expectation that if we find out in 10-15 years time that non-DER power is, after all, the best solution to de-carbonizing, do we then reverse the trend as projected in the graphs? Is that really a reasonable plan? Surely, DERs should be built out with that possibility covered?


So, I find myself confused sbout what Enbala’s vision means.   Is size the issue? Location? Sustainability? Renewability? 


I tend to think that we better hold off on disposal of our non-DERs such as gas powered generation until those answers are more visible.


While I wholly buy in to the hope for that Vision, at least my present understanding of it,  the controlling factor must remain decarbonization at an acceptable cost. 


My fear is that the path to DER may cloud the larger issue, especially if the meaning of DER is fuzzy.



Eric Young's picture
Thank Eric for the Post!
Energy Central contributors share their experience and insights for the benefit of other Members (like you). Please show them your appreciation by leaving a comment, 'liking' this post, or following this Member.
More posts from this member

Get Published - Build a Following

The Energy Central Power Industry Network is based on one core idea - power industry professionals helping each other and advancing the industry by sharing and learning from each other.

If you have an experience or insight to share or have learned something from a conference or seminar, your peers and colleagues on Energy Central want to hear about it. It's also easy to share a link to an article you've liked or an industry resource that you think would be helpful.

                 Learn more about posting on Energy Central »