Utilities Start to Embrace the Value of DER

In a Recharge article, Navigant explores the benefits integrated DER provides to the European grid

The energy industry is experiencing a profound transformation, and traditional business models are being challenged by disruptive firms offering new services that leverage more advanced technology.

In an article for Recharge, Alex Metz, managing consultant at Navigant Consulting, Inc., demonstrates how European utilities are increasingly recognizing the value of integrated distributed energy resources (iDER), including PV systems, energy storage, and demand response.

“The largest value potential lies in combining these DER technologies into a platform that can seamlessly optimise the asset portfolio within technical and commercial constraints,” wrote Metz.

Several major European utilities have signed strategic partnerships with companies offering iDER services. The geographic proximity partially explains this trend, as European utilities typically test energy services in their core market before expanding. With the number and size of acquisitions equally increasing, the iDER platform seems to be nearing a critical state of maturity.

DER brings flexibility to the grid, giving Europe the opportunity to integrate a larger portion of non-dispatchable renewables and thereby achieving more aggressive emissions reduction targets.

However, “electricity markets have not historically been designed for small-scale generators and demand-side resources," explained Metz. "Electricity network operators are adjusting their flexibility products to facilitate access of DER to a wider range of grid services.”

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