The spread of distributed energy resources (DERs), such as on-site solar power, battery storage and smart meters, is enabling businesses to better manage and control their energy usage and costs.
Such technologies also offer services that, if aggregated and monetized, could add value for utilities and support grid activities, including reducing customer peak demand, supplying backup power and resiliency, meeting demand response and providing energy directly into wholesale markets. However, using DERs for multiple applications is relatively new and has not been deployed on a large scale.
In an article for Wiley Periodicals’ August 2019 Natural Gas & Electricity journal, CSE engineering and policy experts discuss many technical, regulatory and institutional opportunities surrounding multiple-use applications for DERs and describe efforts to overcome barriers to DER market development and adoption by addressing specific problems.
The authors discuss potential solutions through two demonstration projects designed to show how customer-sited DERs can operate and be paid for multiple-use applications for services to customers, utilities and transmission grid operators. While these pilot projects focus on host sites in California, they are generally applicable nationally as utility customers are increasingly looking to DERs to reduce energy costs, and electricity markets are faced with integrating more dynamic customer loads and intermittent renewable energy.
“Many of these resources are not used every day or at all hours throughout the day, leaving times during which they could provide services for other entities,” said Jon Hart, a CSE DER specialist.
“For example, an energy storage system located at a commercial facility may be discharged only a few times each month to reduce monthly demand charges. On the many days when there is no demand event, the storage system could be used to provide off-site services,” Hart said.