Distributed Energy Resources (DER): Integration of
Distributed Energy Resources in Electric Utility Systems -
Functional Definition for Communication and Control

EPRI contracted UCI to perform a study on “Integration of Distributed Resources in
Electric Utility Systems Functional Definition for Communication and Control
EPRI TR-111491. The EPRI report discusses the probable future of DR
within the deregulated utility industry as a source of energy and ancillary services,
assesses the range of benefits and opportunities of DR for distribution utilities in the
electricity marketplace, evaluates in detail the capabilities of different
telecommunications media for providing the communications infrastructure to utilities
for monitoring and control DR devices, and describes possible scenarios and examples
to interest distribution utilities to explore the alternatives which match their business
goals and technical environment.

Distributed Resources (DR) will have increased impacts on distribution utilities, due
not only to improvements in DR device technology, cost, and efficiency, but also to the
rapid growth of the deregulated electricity marketplace. These deregulation forces
have spurred interest in non-standard and dispersed sources of generation to meet
increasingly competitive requirements for energy, ancillary services, and other energy

Distribution utilities will be a major player in deregulation as retail marketing becomes
more widespread. DR devices will present not only technological headaches for
incorporating these devices in the distribution system, but the operation and
ownership of DR devices will also provide significant opportunities to distribution
utilities, particularly if they can manage these resources effectively. This management
requires communications between the distribution operations centers and the DR
devices in the field, and entails the development of monitoring and control
capabilities. In particular, the flow of information among all of the different
stakeholders in the DR marketplace is crucial to the effective use of DR technology.

No single communications and control technology or strategy will be the best for all
distribution utilities. Rather, a proliferation of choices exist which utilities will need to
assess individually, based on their business goals, the mix and range of customers
within their territory, the types of DR devices being installed, their power system
characteristics and equipment, the availability of different public and private
communications infrastructures, and their existing distribution automation capabilities.
Copyright UCI 2012, All rights reserved.
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