Investment in energy infrastructure is shifting from big transmission-connected systems to smaller distribution-connected and behind-the-meter systems with intelligent digital controls.
Traditionally, a renewable energy project would consist of a single generation system (a solar or wind system), that would be secured with an off-take agreement with a customer, and with renewable energy certificates or tax credits designed to help underwrite projects. But distributed energy projects are different.
- They can consist of multiple interacting technologies — solar, battery storage, thermal storage, co-generation systems, EV charging points, load control, hydrogen power systems (electrolysers, storage tanks, and fuel-cells), and more.
- They can be distribution network-connected or behind the meter; they can be deployed across multiple sites with seperate connections to the public distribution network, or they can be deployed within private distribution networks: embedded networks or microgrids.
- They can be participate in energy markets directly, through aggregation and orchestration; or independently, by optimising individual site load to minimise retail, network, and capacity costs, and to generate revenues via retail sell-back or feed-in-tariff arrangements, and enrolment within demand response programs.
- They can be part of a wider-project development such as a residential microgrid, industrial estate, or virtual power plant program, and so technical and commercial options need to take into account a broader range of project considerations.
These complexities make optimising site selection and technology options difficult, forecasting project cashflows to secure project financing a challenge, and make it imperative to track actual delivered performance once assets are in the ground.
And because these assets are dynamic and regulations and market conditions can change, these are not one-time challenges, and projects need to be continually re-assessed and re-configured over there life.
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