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What are distributed energy resources?

Distributed energy resources (DER) is the name given to renewable energy units or systems that are commonly located on the rooftops of houses or businesses to provide them with power. Another name for DER is “behind the meter” because the electricity is generated ‘behind’ the electricity meter in the home or business.

Common examples of DER include rooftop solar PV units, battery storage, electric vehicles and chargers, smart meters, and home energy management technologies. These separate elements work together to form distributed generation.

Distributed energy resources in Australia

DER is changing the way Australia produces and manages electricity. Rather than electricity being generated by big power stations, it is now starting to come from many places including millions of homes and businesses.

The demand for DER in Australia is also expected to grow, with the Electricity Network Transformation Roadmap estimating that by 2050 DER may contribute up to 45 per cent of Australia’s electricity generation.

This means that the organisations responsible for managing electricity distribution have a massive challenge to ensure that it all works together and the electricity grid remains stable.

Distributed energy resources video playlist

ARENA action

Our purpose is to accelerate Australia’s shift to affordable and reliable renewable energy. By connecting investment, knowledge and people to deliver energy innovation, we are helping to build the foundation of a renewable energy ecosystem in Australia.

In 2018, we established the Distributed Energy Integration Program (DEIP), a collaboration of government agencies, market authorities, industry and consumer associations with the shared aim of maximising the value of customers’ DER for all energy users. The DEIP supports information exchange and collaboration on DER issues, enabling a more efficient identification of knowledge gaps and priorities, and accelerating reforms in the interest of customers.

We are also providing funding support for projects that demonstrate how the effective use of distributed energy resources can help Australia transition to a secure and reliable grid with a high share of renewables.

In 2019, ARENA awarded $9.6m in funding for 12 DER research and demonstration projects to develop new ways to understand and manage the effect of high levels of DER in different parts of the electricity grid. The projects are examining how grids can connect more DER cheaper and faster while reducing costs and operating within the technical limits of the power system. This investment is helping networks, retailers, government and system operators understand and overcome the technical and commercial challenges of managing a grid with a large share of DER.

Knowledge sharing

ARENA shares knowledge, insights and data from our funded projects to help the renewable energy industry and other projects learn from each other’s experiences. Our projects capture high-quality quantitative and qualitative data and information, linked with the needs of the market, while respecting our recipients’ commercial and contractual rights.

Reports from our distributed energy projects can be found in the ARENA Knowledge Bank.

Last updated 16 August 2019
Last updated
16 August 2019


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