Innovative ideas for every utility

Key takeaways of integrating distributed energy resources

Stephen Hill
Sr. Content Development Specialist

Every day utilities must find new and better ways to integrate distributed energy resources (DERs) onto their grid networks. Developing better communication methods, new regulatory policies, and updating business models are some of the integral work needed to make DERs work with utility networks.

Here at DistribuTech 2020 in San Antonio, Michael Brown with NV Energy presented an in-depth series of case studies where utilities are doing all of these, and more. Brown is the manager of demand response and distributed energy resources at NV Energy, and he’s co-chair of the Peak Load Management Alliance, PLMA.

Brown and other members of the PLMA recently published a paper that outline key takeaways for integrating DERs, titled “The Future of Distributed Energy Resources.”

Here are some key takeaways by category as outlined in the PLMA compendium paper.

Planning and Foundational

  • DER proliferation is affecting the grid, and planning for these new DERs is critical for management.
  • Demand response and DERs require much more cross department coordination
  • New analytical tools and models are required for better integration planning

DR Plus

  • Mixed assets behind the meter have multiple benefits, but requires value stacking
  • Business case for DER integration also requires value stacking
  • Value stacking require more sophisticated controls, business controls and better regulatory support


  • Grid integration of microgrids creates shared value
  • Most customers are excited about putting storage behind the meter
  • Behind-the-meter storage creates a learning curve for both customer and utility

International DER integration

  • Foreign utilities typically need significant amount of regulatory reform
  • Demand response and distributed energy resources provide a clear path for carbon neutral fuel diversification
  • There is a critical need for grid modernization if DER integration is to be successful throughout the world

DERs are commonplace throughout all utilities’ grid networks. Just in the last decade there has been a rapid rise in behind-the-meter solar installations, battery storage, and electric vehicle charging.

Many utilities are finding ingenious ways to use DERs to create value. Demand response is a favorable model in planning and implementing DER integration.

We’ll be covering the entire DISTRIBUTECH 2020 conference live on the blog and on Twitter and LinkedIn. Come join the conversation. Or visit us onsite at the booth at 2809.

Got a little FOMO about DistribuTECH? Fear you’re missing out? Then it’s time for you to check out a few of our blogs already up and live from the conference featuring both industry insiders and local utilities, too:


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