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This paper addresses the topic of utility-oriented deployment of distributed energy resources (DERs) including both distributed generation (DG) and storage (DS) in distribution networks. This application has recently attracted vast attention among many utilities in North America in support of current trends toward development of smart grids and active networks. The main focus of this paper is the examination of specific applications and functionalities of DER technologies that are most likely to be targeted by utilities of the future. The possible impacts of large DER integration on distribution system performance will be investigated based on practical examples from utility demonstration projects.