What is distributed generation?
Distributed generation (DG) is an approach to electricity generation where the power is produced at or near the point of consumption. DG project sizes are generally much smaller than in centralized generation (i.e. large hydro dams or coal-fired power plants) and tend to put a greater emphasis on renewable energy sources. It has many advantages over centralized distribution, including creation of local jobs, reduced requirements for expensive transmission & distribution, energy diversification, a reliance on cleaner indigenous energy sources, lower costs, and, in the case of microgrid approaches, an increase in reliability, especially in an age of growing cybersecurity threats.
With continuing drops in the cost of renewable technologies DG is not just the wave of the future, it is fast becoming the energy solution for today. Increasing electricity costs, environmental concerns associated with climate change, decreasing renewable energy costs, and a growing cultural shift toward local and sustainable energy solutions assures a strong future for distributed solutions.
In the past three years, the amount of global investment in distributed energy solutions has roughly doubled, and nowhere is it growing more rapidly than in emerging economy countries. This is for a variety of reasons, ranging from energy security to diversifying a country’s energy mix.
Optimizing your energy mix
A great advantage of distributed generation is that it can take advantage of local renewable energy resources, including sun, wind, and water. The ability to optimize your energy mix - picking the best mix of technologies to take advantage of local renewable energy sources - is a significant advantage for DG.
Current challenges to large-scale deployment of Distributed Generation
There are several challenges to the large-scale deployment of distributed generation projects in emerging economies, including:
- a lack of awareness and confusion around the economic viability of projects;
- the shortage of a trained workforce that can design, develop, and maintain potentially thousands of sites in each country;
- the project-by-project development process, which inherently doesn’t scale well;
- the absence of standardization and quality control measures;
- inadequate financing mechanisms, which limits the large-scale deployment of capital.
Our goal at Espectro Energy is to confront these challenges, ensuring that the thousands of distributed generation sites needed are efficient, well-constructed, and maintained for the long haul. Implicit with this goal is designing systems to maximize local, renewable energy resources, resulting in projects that are not only cost effective, but also good for the environment while increasing energy independence.