Session: A Distributed Intelligence Vision for the Electric Grid
Distributed Energy Resources, or DERs for short, such as solar, batteries and wind are changing how electric utilities need to think about managing the electric grid in the future. Only having a few large central generation facilities like nuclear, hydro and natural gas generation plants pushing electricity to end customers is no longer a reality. The “D” in DERs says it all. Electricity generation is now distributed but in smaller capacities and in many more locations. This causes electricity to flow in directions which can potentially cause instability in the grid.
In order for the electric utilities to continue to provide the reliability that we have all come to depend on, utilities need to think “distributed” as well. This include more localized control of resources, localized optimizations and even edge compute. By leveraging the great work that has taken place over the past decade in the cloud, these cloud-native technologies can be repurposed and put together in new and distinct ways to help solve this problem. The Emerging Technology Office, a small R&D group inside of Duke Energy, has been leading the way on these efforts for the past 8 years and has built a POC called ZTAG where we leverage tools such as Kubernetes, NATS, Envoy and many others to show how thinking distributed can push the grid to the future we will need.