Distributed Energy Resources Are Here to Stay: A Look into the Future


 

We have been hearing for years, even decades, that solar panels, batteries, and electric vehicles will disrupt the traditional utility model and industry. The utility world is changing at a rapid pace, and we have a decision to make: Change with it or be left behind. You may not already know it, but our members have a choice when it comes to where they get energy. They do not have to buy their power from Middle Tennessee Electric (MTEMC). They do not have to lose power when the grid goes down. They can be grid-independent, and it’s due to the proliferation of distributed energy (DE).

What is distributed energy? DE resources consist of any type of energy that can be distributed from location-to-location. It isn’t centrally located. Electric vehicles can be charged at one location then driven to another to recharge and discharge energy. A car may charge here in our territory at a lower rate and drive to Nashville and charge at a higher rate or vice versa.  Battery storage systems can be installed at homes and businesses to charge and discharge during certain hours of the day to avoid peak demand rates or provide power in the event of an outage. Solar panels give some of our members the grid independence and self-reliance they seek. They produce their own clean, renewable energy onsite to use in their homes. These are just a few examples of our ever-changing world, and these technologies are growing in adoption.

So, where does MTEMC fit into this distributed energy world? We have a responsibility to advise our members and provide our members with the best possible service. We will guide them into making the best energy choices they can. MTEMC can develop programs around these technologies that will help us build a smarter, more robust grid and a better member experience. We may call on our members’ battery systems when we approach our own peak demand to help us shave our load. We may call on them to send excess energy they do not need to areas where we need more power.

MTEMC may call on electric vehicle owners to charge during off-peak times and utilize energy being stored in those batteries. Why not discharge those batteries once overnight back onto the grid and receive a credit? By the time our members wake up, their cars will be fully charged and ready to go.

The possibilities for distributed energy are endless, and many of the uses for it are just being developed. As our members begin to invest in distributed energy technology, Middle Tennessee Electric is here to be your trusted energy advisor.

To learn more about our distributed energy resources or if you like to ask a question from our in-house distributed energy resources coordinator, give us a call at 877-777-9020 or shoot us an email at info@mtemc.com

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