The term refers to how or where electricity is generated.  It is also described as “distributed energy resources” or DER.  Typically in the past and still today electric energy is generated at large-scale, centralized power stations, built near the sources of the energy, e.g., coal mines, large lakes and rivers or oil fields, and then transmitted by grids connected over long distances to where the power is needed.







In contrast DER are decentralized, often generating the electricity near where the power is most needed.  The sources for the energy are typically renewable, such as solar, wind and hydro which are available over larger,  wide-spread areas.  And with continuing smart computer developments, the power can be delivered to a single structure (a home or office or shop) or joined with or tied to other smaller grids (college campus).  It is a form of generating electricity (and heat) at or close to the point of demand.  It can be power at your front door.

Such developments make it possible for individuals or small or medium groups to set up their own energy system, often reducing costs of home energy.


Some further ideas to explore on Distributed Generation

What is the source of the power for your electricity?

Where is that source located?

Where is the location of the power plant that feeds your electricity?

Where is the closest source of distributed generation of power?

Who owns that power?



European Parliament, Will distributed energy resources (DERs) change how we get our energy?

US EPA,  Distributed Generation of Electricity and its Environmental Impacts

“Distributed Energy: DE technologies exhibit a range of emission characteristics,” Science Direct, Encyclopedia of Energy (2004).

Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, “Solar Integration: Distributed Energy Resources and Microgrids,” US Dept of Energy


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