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If you can remember my previous post on the future of the energy market, which you can find here, distributed energy resources can disrupt our vertically integrated power market.

And in a webinar facilitated by USAID Southeast Asia EDGE Hub on Transforming the Power Sector: Regulatory Design for Disruptive Technologies, Santiago Enriquez of Abt Associates/USAID CEADIR highlighted some of their benefits and the challenges they raise.

But first, what are the main types of Distributed Energy Resources (DERs)?

Main Types of Distributed Energy Resources

  1. Distributed generation
  2. Transmission and distribution grids
  3. Stationary energy storage
  4. Electric vehicles and charging infrastructure
  5. Demand response
  6. Energy efficiency

— from the presentation of Santiago Enriquez, Abt Associates/USAID CEADIR

How do DERs affect you?

Benefits of Distributed Energy Resources

  1. Consumers pay lower electricity bills, have more choices, and more reliable services
  2. Energy access in remote geographic areas
  3. A cleaner, smarter grid
    1. Lower capital expenditure in traditional infrastructure
    2. Improved reliability, resilience and flexibility
    3. Cleaner energy sources and reduced environmental impacts from transmission and distribution infrastructure
    4. Greater domestic energy security

— from the presentation of Santiago Enriquez, Abt Associates/USAID CEADIR

That may sound far off from the future, but all of us have a role to play. And we can take action if we know what to address head-on.


  1. DER can be disruptive for vertically integrated utilities or power transmission and distribution utilities
  2. Utilities previously only had to manage unidirectional electricity flows from centralized generation to customers
  3. DER make it necessary to consider multidirectional electricity flows from end user who are both consumers and generators
  4. DER change net load profiles and may reduce utility revenues and require changes in business models
  5. DER can reduce utility capital, operating, maintenance, and replacement costs

— from the presentation of Santiago Enriquez, Abt Associates/USAID CEADIR

But through a combination of (1) policymakers who have the power to expedite the implementation of DER integration, (2) the market that continuously innovates for affordable alternatives, and (3) people’s acceptance towards this change (even if this means a paradigm shift), this future will be more real than it has ever been before.