Engineering challenges with distributed generation Schaefer, Madeleine
Distributed generation describes the connection of electricity generation close to the point of use, often directly to the distribution system . Many electrical utilities are facilitating the connection of more distributed generation to replace or supplement centralized generation as a result of political, environmental, or economic pressures. There can be significant environmental and economic advantages related to connecting distributed energy resources; however, successful connections require that utilities overcome several engineering challenges. Distributed generation can impact electrical power systems in multiple areas including power flow direction and magnitude, voltage regulation, protection, and power quality. These impacts vary depending on the characteristics of the generator and the system it is connecting to. Despite these impacts, coordinated connection of distributed generation has the potential to improve electric system reliability and power quality, and reduce peak power requirements and land-use . Centralized generation is often connected to long transmission networks which incur considerable line losses. These transmission networks require significant investment to build and maintain. Connecting generation closer to the customer can reduce line losses. Allowing customers to connect generation can reduce the financial burden on utilities to build and maintain these facilities. 2 This report will focus on the engineering challenges in connecting generation to radial distribution feeders, and is organized as follows: Impacts of Distributed Generation, Level of Impact by Generator and System Characteristics, and Conclusions.
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