Distributed energy resources

The foundations of fully renewable-based energy systems are currently being laid, spurred by advancements in wind and solar power, storage technologies and demand-side flexibility. The rise of increasingly cost-effective energy storage combined with greater demand-side flexibility and the expansion of grid infrastructure is making it possible for regions with widely differing resource endowments to transition to fully renewable-based energy systems.

  1. Battery or energy storage systems (ESS) have grown rapidly from less than 1GW globally in 2012 to more than 17GW by the end of 2020. Battery storage costs fell roughly 90% within a decade, from more than USD 1,200 per KWh to USD 130 per kWh near the end of 2021.

  2. Sector coupling refers to the integration of energy supply and demand across electricity, heat, and transport applications. By providing pathways for renewable electricity to supply energy in heating and transport, sector coupling is facilitating higher shares of renewables. Development in activating (or deactivating) appliances are enabling previously separate end-use sectors to become more interconnected, accelerating the pace of energy system transformation and unlocking important co-benefits including emission reduction, lower energy prices, improved resilience and greater energy security.

  3. Demand response relates to decreasing flexible loads such as heat pumps, electric vehicles, and water heaters during times of low renewable energy supply, and increasing them during times when supply exceeds demand and prices are low. In most power systems, more utilities are experiencing periods of greater supply at certain times of the year, whether due to high rainfall or to days with abundant wind or sunshine. This recurrence of grid surplus is exacerbating the need for more flexible power demand. The digitalization of electric appliances and their inter-connectivity is now enabling electricity demand to be shaped in various ways based on system needs. Thus, demand response technologies combined with DERs can facilitate the ability to meet the entire electricity needs with renewables.

Indeed, examples of 100% (or nearly 100%) renewable in the power sector are relatively widespread. In actuality, a growing number of regional jurisdictions now regularly generate surplus renewable electricity, and thus export the remainder to neighboring regions or convert it to other forms of energy.

Last updated