distributed energy

Pacific Gas and Electric Company is partnering with several companies to test solar technologies to advance integration of distributed energy resources.[quote] The Californian utility is teaming up with Enphase Energy to install and test smart inverters, Solar City to test smart inverters and battery storage systems for private solar customers. [Smart energy: PG&E submits proposal to CPUC for RE]

PG&E is also partnering with GE to demonstrate a distributed energy resource management system (DERMS). The utility seeks to advance integration of distributed energy resources in San Jose to realise greater benefit from the electric grid. The demonstration projects conducted with Enphase Energy, Solar City and GE will evaluate to what extent the DERMS technology enhances the stability and power quality of the grid and optimizes solar generation and power-flow management, as more customers adopt solar.

Geisha Williams, president, PG&E Electric, said: “The rapid growth of distributed energy resources has ushered in a new era of electric distribution, and we're seeing the smarter grid emerging as a reliability, storage and interconnection system that compliments the new energy technologies that our customers are using in their homes. As this dynamic, two-way operating environment develops, PG&E continues to embrace and test innovative technologies that improve electric reliability and equip our customers with valuable services and products that support their choices to adopt clean energy.”

Distributed energy resource management

The project will also demonstrate how smart inverters and energy storage can be used with distributed energy resource management systems to optimise electric distribution, and is expected to begin in September this year.

Distributed energy resources brings with it its own operational complexities, however, PG&E states that automated technology such as DERMS it enhance decision making by gathering, analysing, and visualising new and expanding data streams to improve operations, reduce costs and support new services. [Solar residential rooftops increased 50% in the US]

Kevin Dasso, PG&E's vice president of Electric Strategy and Asset Management, said: “This work should advance industry understanding and help us further assess how to not just to manage DERs on the grid, but ultimately turn them into more effective grid resources.”

Williams added: "We are living in one of the most exciting times in the energy industry, and these demonstrations are the latest examples of PG&E's many technology investments to improve our operations supporting clean energy options and lay the foundation for the future.”