The surge in distributed generation has prompted the Tennessee Valley Authority, a major utility producing power from large central power stations, to study the value of generation from small power producers using solar panels, micro wind turbines and small gas turbines.
TVA is working with several organizations on the effort, including the Solar Electric Power Association, the Electric Power Research Institute, the Tennessee Valley Public Power Association, state leaders in Tennessee and representatives from research labs and environmental groups.
The goal is to develop methods for determining the full and fair value of distributed generation to the grid. The study also will identify methods for determining the full and fair value of the grid to homes and businesses that produce their own power.
Patty West, director of Renewable Energy Solutions for TVA, said the effort will help establish methods and pricing “that all stakeholders can understand and support.”
The study is expected to be completed by the end of this year. Public comments will be accepted and posted at www.tva.gov/dgiv.
Distributed generation, or on-site power, has become a central focus for many engineering firms and technology companies. In February, GE launched a new Distributed Generation business to capitalize on what it described as a “$100 billion opportunity.” According to GE (NYSE: GE) , distributed power will grow 40 percent faster than global electricity demand between now and 2020.
On June 4, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) announced plans to establish a new department within its Energy & Environment business that will focus on distributed power.
The surge in distributed energy resources (DER) is significant, and some utilities and states are making progress in modifying their business models to reflect the increasing use of DER.