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Distributed Generation Systems: A New Paradigm for Sustainable Energy

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1 Author(s)

The great challenge for designing and developing sustainable alternative energy infrastructure is in essence the same as for maintaining our present infrastructure: How can we best solve the problems of delivering energy when and where it is needed? This involves rethinking supply and demand, load balancing, and energy sourcing paradigms with a view toward local production utilizing next generation technologies. Exploiting distributed generation means designing hybrid systems based on site-specific conditions; using new technologies to leverage traditional energy sources; and minimizing transmission and distribution costs - particularly the losses associated with long-distance transmission. Load balancing in particular becomes far more tractable when viewed as a local problem of matching energy supply and demand. Looking at modern network technologies as the models for creating a new generation of energy delivery systems provides insights into how local energy production systems can be scaled up to internetworked production systems that leverage alternative energy generation based on local and sustainable resources together with traditional large scale generation. As smart grid development advances, network theory and technology provides a new model for energy systems based on a multi-dimensional energy production network rather than the outmoded single-direction, source-to-consumption model we now have.

Published in:

2011 IEEE Green Technologies Conference (IEEE-Green)

Date of Conference:

14-15 April 2011