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Distributed Energy

Distributed energy consists of a range of smaller-scale and modular devices designed to provide electricity, and sometimes also thermal energy, in locations close to consumers. They include fossil and renewable energy technologies (e.g., photovoltaic arrays, wind turbines, microturbines, reciprocating engines, fuel cells, combustion turbines, and steam turbines); energy storage devices (e.g., batteries and flywheels); and combined heat and power systems. Distributed energy offers solutions to many of the nation's most pressing energy and electric power problems, including blackouts and brownouts, energy security concerns, power quality issues, tighter emissions standards, transmission bottlenecks, and the desire for greater control over energy costs.

DOE supported the Distributed Energy Program from 1999-2007 and met its performance targets of: 1) achieving three integrated energy systems (combined heat and power systems) of greater than 70% efficiency; 2) demonstrating a 38% efficient microturbine; and 3) demonstrating a 44% efficient reciprocating engine.