Distributed energy + distributed controls = distributed benefits.
Dr. Sunil Cherian, Ph.D., is founder and CEO of Spirae, a technology company that delivers smart grid solutions to partners and customers, with operations in North America, Europe and India. Dr. Cherian has extensive experience in distributed energy applications, including distributed control systems, renewable energy integration, and energy services delivery. He is a frequent speaker at industry events and has delivered dozens of technical presentations and authored multiple publications in books and journals.
We are today in the midst of a quiet revolution in how we produce, deliver and consume energy.
The 20th century paradigm of centralized, unidirectional power provisioning is being transformed by distributed energy resources (DER), distributed, intelligent controls, and broader stakeholder involvement. As a result, electric energy is also undergoing a transformation, from a commodity to a value-added service tailored to the diverse needs of modern energy consumers.
Energy is becoming "personal" again, in the sense that one type of service doesn't fit all. The notion of customer segmentation - whether that's the unique needs of a particular commercial/industrial facility, a campus, a town or diverse segments of the residential consumer base - is finally taking root in electric power, thanks to a variety of drivers and technological advancements.
This quiet revolution will create a new provisioning model I call "integrated energy," in which multiple energy sources, storage and managed loads are balanced for optimal performance, efficiency and cost. The key to all of this is flexibility, a quality achieved by applying distributed, intelligent controls to the resource portfolio of supply and load to make each element a dynamic, manageable resource in the supply-load balancing act.