As distributed energy resources (DERs) including solar PV and batteries begin to proliferate throughout the world, the services they could provide if coupled with the right technology go beyond simple energy generation and storage. Utilities are waking up to how they might use these technologies to bring about a cleaner, stronger, resilient and “smarter” grid.
One day, utilities might very well be able to reach beyond the meter and use customer-owned smart inverters, solar PV and either standalone batteries or electric vehicle batteries or both to provide services that strengthen the grid like frequency control, volt/var support, and other ancillary services that it might need at any given time.
Ryan Katofsky, Vice President, Industry Analysis with Advanced Energy Economy is an expert on this 21st century electricity system transformation that is taking place today. He says that customer engagement programs like these encourage participants to be “good citizens of the grid” while also, hopefully saving them money.
However, some of these potential “good grid citizens” might not be interested in taking part in such programs and are loudly proclaiming “keep your hands off my inverter.”
Here’s what Katofsky had to say about their concerns.
A future in which utilities routinely use DERs to strengthen the grid is quite far off, according to most experts. Indeed, the first step is deploying Advance Meter Infrastructure. This article offers more on information about how the states rank in terms of AMI deployment.