North American utilities are expecting a big impact from distributed energy resources and associated management systems over the next two years.

That’s one of the findings in a new white paper from Zpryme and Landis+Gyr, which summarizes the findings of a recent survey of 130 North American utility professionals. Nearly 80 percent of those surveyed anticipate DERs and DERMS (Distributed Energy Resource Management System) will become more important to their operations. They are second only to energy efficiency as the top technology program initiative being considered.

One reason for this is that utilities are just starting to get into owning and managing distributed resources. Currently, a larger percentage of wind and decentralized storage are managed by third-party providers. While consumers control and manage as much as 58 percent of decentralized solar generation.

Other key findings from “Managing Complexity in the Distributed Reality: A Utility Perspective on DERMS” include:

    1. Utilities are looking for engagement from the broader industry, with 75 percent of those surveyed wanting to work with third-party providers for managing DERs.
    2. The top challenge for implementing DERs and DERMs solutions is articulating the business benefits and return on investment.

The authors provide some recommendations too, including advice to start a DER management program by implementing a cohesive platform that considers the most common use cases, while also supporting investments in areas like EV charging. Utilities should also get involved in shaping standards for the products that operate in this space to lesson investment risk.

Download the white paper here.

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