Deployment of Distributed Generation for Grid Support and Distribution System Infrastructure: A Summary Analysis of DG Benefits and Case Studies
Distributed generation (DG) and combined heat and power (CHP), and more broadly Distributed Energy Resources (DER) that encompasses DG, CHP, and energy efficiency resources (EE) can provide numerous benefits both to the electric transmission and distribution (T&D) and to society overall. For some time, the potential benefits of DG CHP have been identified, speculated upon, and in some instances, analyzed and quantified. Studies have been conducted by industry participants, utilities, regulators and their national and regional organizations, the Department of Energy and the National Energy labs, and numerous energy experts and consultants. These numerous studies have identified numerous benefits including avoided costs of energy, generation capacity and transmission and distribution (T&D) capacity; avoided line losses; wholesale price impacts, improved utility system reliability; distribution power quality; hedge value against volatile fuel prices and other positive electricity market impacts; as well as un-priced societal benefits such as reduced greenhouse gas emissions and air quality benefits from the reduction of criteria pollutants. The analysis in this paper focuses on the benefits of DG and in particular DG in the form of CHP. Our primary interest is in the benefits that DG/CHP can provide for the electric distribution company in supporting operations and capital planning for the T&D system.