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  • Writer's pictureMarkus Virta

Navigating the World of DERs, EVs, DR, and DM: A Guide for Energy Managers

As the world moves towards a more sustainable future, businesses, local governments, tribes, utilities and organizations are seeking innovative ways to reduce their carbon footprint and lower their energy costs. One way to achieve this is through the use of Distributed Energy Resources (DERs), Electric Vehicles (EVs), Demand Response (DR), and Demand Management (DM). However, navigating the world of DERs, EVs, DR, and DM can be overwhelming, especially for energy/sustainability managers who are responsible for driving their organization's sustainability efforts. In this guide, we will provide an overview of DERs, EVs, DR, and DM, their benefits, and how they can be implemented in a sustainable energy management strategy.

Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) are small-scale power generation units that are located near the point of use or consumption. At Cascadia Renewables we love DERS!! They can be used to supplement or replace traditional centralized power generation systems. The following are the different types of DERs and their benefits:

1. Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Systems: Solar PV systems generate electricity from the sun's energy. They are relatively easy and low cost to install, have no moving parts, and require minimal maintenance. They provide a reliable source of low cost electricity with zero greenhouse gas emission.

2. Wind Turbines: Wind turbines generate electricity from wind energy. They are cost-effective and can be installed on a small scale. They are ideal for remote locations and can help reduce dependence on traditional power sources.

3. Micro-hydro Systems: Micro-hydro systems generate electricity from flowing water. They are ideal for locations with a constant supply of water and can be installed on a small scale. They are cost-effective and have minimal environmental impact.

4. Energy Storage Systems: Energy storage systems store excess electricity generated by DERs for later use. They help reduce reliance on traditional power sources and can help maintain a stable power supply during peak demand periods.

Image Source: Western Solar Inc.

5. Fuel Cells: Fuel cells generate elect ricity by converting hydrogen and oxygen into water. They are highly efficient, produce no emissions, and can be used in a variety of applications, including stationary power generation and transportation.

Image Source: Marc Marshall, Schatz Energy Research Center

6. Combined Heat and Power (CHP) Systems: CHP systems generate both electricity and heat from a single fuel source. They are highly efficient and can be used in a variety of applications, including commercial buildings, hospitals, and industrial facilities.

In addition to these, electric vehicles (EVs), demand response (DR), and demand management (DM) also play a crucial role in DERs and their benefits:

  1. Electric Vehicles (EVs): EVs are becoming an increasingly popular mode of transportation as they offer zero-emission travel, reducing greenhouse gas emissions. They can also act as DERs, providing electricity back to the grid during peak demand periods, helping to balance the grid and reduce the need for additional power generation.

  2. Demand Response (DR): DR programs encourage electricity consumers to reduce their energy consumption during times of peak demand. This helps to reduce the strain on the grid and avoid blackouts or brownouts. DR programs can also offer financial incentives to customers who participate.

  3. Demand Management (DM): DM involves the optimization of energy consumption through load shifting and load shedding. Load shifting involves moving energy consumption to off-peak hours, while load shedding involves reducing energy consumption during peak demand periods. DM can help reduce energy costs and prevent overloading of the grid.

The benefits of DERs, EVs, DR, and DM include:

  1. Increased Energy Independence: DERs and EVs provide a local source of energy that can reduce dependence on centralized power generation systems.

  2. Reduced Greenhouse Gas Emissions: DERs, EVs, DR, and DM all contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and mitigating climate change.

  3. Improved Energy Resilience: DERs, EVs, DR, and DM can all help maintain a stable power supply during peak demand periods and in the event of power outages.

  4. Cost Savings: DERs, EVs, DR, and DM can all help reduce energy costs and provide a reliable source of electricity that is not subject to fluctuations in energy prices.

  5. Job Creation: DERs, EVs, DR, and DM can all create jobs in the installation, maintenance, and operation of these systems, supporting local economies.

As sustainability becomes increasingly important to businesses, local governments, tribes, utilities, and organizations, the use of DERs, EVs, DR, and DM is becoming more commonplace. By incorporating these technologies into their energy management strategies, these entities can reduce their carbon footprint, lower their energy costs, and improve their energy resilience. As an energy/sustainability manager, navigating the world of DERs, EVs, DR, and DM can be overwhelming, but with the right guidance and expertise, it is possible to develop and implement a sustainable energy management strategy that will benefit both the organization, local community, and the planet. We hope that this guide has provided valuable insights into the world of DERs, EVs, DR, and DM and will serve as a helpful resource for energy/sustainability managers seeking to drive their organization's sustainability efforts.

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- Markus and Callum

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