3Q 2020

Integrated DER: Orchestrating the Grid's Last Mile

The global power and utilities industry is changing dramatically, moving from centralized to decentralized decision makers managing distributed energy resources (DER). The diversity embedded in these DER portfolios is a challenge and a great opportunity. These DER assets can support a variety of mutually shared value propositions in the new energy landscape. 

Declining technology costs for key DER assets such as solar PV and advanced energy storage systems (ESSs) are driving widespread adoption of smaller, smarter, and cleaner energy systems. Nevertheless, navigating the energy transformation requires new approaches to integrating DER into the grid and onsite energy networks that bolster resiliency and foster sustainability; it will also require innovative business models that recognize previously hidden value for end users and the larger grid network. A fundamental rethinking of organizational and systems operations that embraces DER networks and their underlying technologies is better attuned to evolving demand and customer needs. Also, compatibility with a rapidly changing policy and regulatory environment will be needed for a successful transformation. The value of DER assets can be fully realized only if they are integrated into markets, customer sites, and the grid in a way that creates shared value.

This white paper lays out a roadmap to greater realization of integrated DER (iDER), which describes a more dynamic system of DER than was necessary in the past—a system that coordinates seamlessly with the bulk grid. The vision embedded in iDER represents a platform for ambitious ventures into system orchestration and value creation in the future energy system. 

Pages 27
Tables | Charts | Figures 13
  • What is iDER, and how does it affect utilities and other grid operators?
  • Which DER management platforms fall under the iDER umbrella?
  • What is driving the iDER opportunity?
  • How does iDER serve as a bridge to other adjacent opportunities such as clean mobility, smart buildings, and smart cities?
  • Why should stakeholders explore opportunities now rather than wait and see? 
  • Who are pioneers in the iDER space? 
  • Electric utilities
  • Grid operators (ISOs and DSOs) 
  • Smart grid and enterprise software vendors 
  • IoT vendors
  • DER manufacturers
  • Policy and regulatory decision makers
  • Investor community

1. Arriving at the DER Tipping Point

1.1   Why iDER?

1.2   Harnessing the Rapid Growth in Diverse DER Portfolios

1.3   Launching an iDER Strategy

2. Harnessing iDER Value

2.1   What Does True iDER Look Like?

2.1.1   Smash Through Internal Utility Siloes

2.1.2   Build Bridges Between Retail and Wholesale Markets

2.1.3   Develop Tools to Mitigate Grid Reliability Challenges Linked to DER

2.1.4   Boost Resiliency via Microgrids to Extract More Value from DER

2.2   Value of DER Assets Multiplies When Integrated in the Right Way

2.2.1   Linking iDER to Global Infrastructure Trends

2.2.2   Clean Mobility Technologies as iDER Enabler

2.2.3   Internet of Things and Smart Buildings

2.2.4   Comprehensive Smart City Initiatives Emerging

3. Future iDER Scenarios

3.1   Business-as-Usual

3.2   Energy Cloud Accelerator Scenario

4. Preparing for Accelerated iDER

4.1   Blueprint for an iDER Strategy

4.2   Assessing Your Organization’s Readiness

4.3   Five Dimensions for Accelerated iDER Implementation

4.3.1   Technology: Optimize the Grid for iDER

4.3.2   Customers: Use Government Purchasing Power and Infrastructure Funding as a Change Agent

4.3.3   Policy and Regulation: Integrated Resource Planning Links to Strategic iDER

4.3.4   Business Models: Reimagining Utility Rate-Basing

4.3.5   Operational Excellence: Resolve Security Concerns on Data Management Vital to iDER Success

5. Launching iDER

5.1   Implement No Regrets Actions

5.2   Optimize the Core Business

5.3   Innovate Future Business Models

About Guidehouse

  • Centralized vs. DER Annual Capacity Additions, World Markets: 2020-2030
  • PEV Population by Region, World Markets: 2015-2030
  • Annual Residential IoT Hardware Shipments by Device Type, World Markets: 2020-2029
  • Annual Smart City Revenue by Industry, World Markets: 2019-2028
  • Virtual Power Plants
  • DERMS Designed to Close the Grid-Edge Gap
  • iDER Platform: Microgrids as Climate Change Mitigation Strategy
  • iDER Balances Forecasts with Asset Optimization Enabled by Real-Time Monitoring
  • iDER Increases Value Across the Energy Cloud Stakeholder Landscape
  • Retail Disruption Led by iDER in the Energy Cloud
  • Platform Evolution Increases iDER Value Over Time
  • Illustrative iDER Trend Impact Matrix
  • Top-Down and Bottoms-Up Perspectives of iDER Platforms