Distributed Energy: A Disruptive Force

Distributed Energy: A Disruptive Force

          
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Distributed Energy: A Disruptive Force

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    The Three Types of Distributed Energy

    Distributed energy, which we define as energy technology that is collocated with the energy load, can be split into three main types:

    • Energy extractors are technologies that reduce or shift energy loads, and there are two forms: The first, energy efficiency, reduces total energy use. It includes improving control of usage and installing more efficient devices, such as light bulbs, water heaters, and heating and air conditioning systems. The second, demand management, shifts the time of energy use to reduce stress on the grid and to avoid employing expensive and often “dirty” generation, especially during peak demand. Demand response is one type of demand management.
    • Energy sources are technologies that produce energy on-site, where it is needed, such as through distributed generation. Rooftop PV solar installations are the most prominent example, although others include small-scale wind and combined heat and power, as well as individual diesel and natural-gas generators.
    • Distributed storage can be connected to energy sources or used as an energy extractor. When connected with an energy source such as a rooftop PV solar installation, it stores energy during the day when the sun shines and discharges it at night. When used as an energy extractor, distributed storage shifts loads during the day to take advantage of time-of-day pricing or to reduce capacity charges. Distributed storage is expected to grow by 34 percent annually through 2020 and to deploy more than 700 megawatts.