A venn diagram with three overlapping circles shows the benefits of distributed energy resources.

DERs can provide revenue streams while grid connected, helping to decrease overall microgrid costs and increase survival time during a grid outage.

Distributed energy resources (DERs)—including renewable energy technologies, storage (such as batteries), and combined heat and power (CHP)—can provide a variety of benefits for federal sites. DERs can help agencies meet goals and mandates, deliver cost and energy savings, and provide environmental benefits. An emerging application for distributed renewable energy, storage, and CHP is resilience—providing power in the event that a site loses grid electricity.

Renewable energy, storage, and CHP can provide revenue streams while grid-connected, and these energy and cost savings may lower the overall cost of a microgrid and allow for the incorporation of additional microgrid components. When integrated into a microgrid, distributed energy technologies can also increase survival time during a grid outage when fuel supplies are limited.

Distributed energy technologies can address specific resilience challenges but are only a part of the picture. The Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) is developing a comprehensive framework for resilience planning and implementation that addresses the continuity of key operations. Learn more about Portfolio Resilience Planning and Implementation.

Resilience Tools

FEMP's Kickstart Your Federal Microgrid Project: Financing Opportunities and Best Practices fact sheet provides an overview of its Financing Microgrids report and gives actionable next steps in the microgrid implementation process.

FEMP's Distributed Energy Technologies for Resilience and Cost Savings presentation, given during the 2019 Energy Exchange conference, provides an overview of solar photovoltaic (PV) and storage, CHP, and microgrids for cost savings and resilience.

FEMP's Process for Planning and Implementing Federal Distributed Energy Projects helps federal agencies streamline the implementation of DER projects for cost savings and resilience purposes. This process leverages federal best practices and lessons learned in order to help agencies execute DER projects that are technically sound and support agency needs and mission.

Events that impact grid availability can also have an impact on DERs. FEMP's Solar Photovoltaic Systems in Hurricanes and Other Severe Weather fact sheet provides best practices for system survivability identified from 2017 hurricanes.

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The National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s REopt™ Lite software is a free online tool designed to help federal agencies, building owners, developers, utilities, and researchers find the most cost-effective and resilient energy solution for a specific site
Video courtesy of the Department of Energy
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Distributed energy resources on a campus can interact with one another to supply power to buildings, even if the serving utility’s grid goes down. This animation simulates grid-connected and islanded energy flows among distributed energy resources at a military base—while connected to the grid, and while islanded during a grid disturbance.
Video courtesy of the U.S. Department of Energy

The REopt™ Lite web tool is designed to help users find the most cost-effective and resilient energy solution for a specific site. REopt Lite evaluates the economic viability of solar PV, battery storage, and wind energy at a site, identifies system sizes and battery dispatch strategies to minimize energy costs while grid connected and during an outage, and estimates how long a system can sustain a site’s critical load during a grid outage.

FEMP's Technical Resilience Navigator (TRN) helps organizations manage the risk to critical missions from disruptions in energy and water services. The TRN provides a systematic approach to identifying energy and water resiliency gaps and developing and prioritizing solutions that reduce risk.

FEMP's Financing Microgrids in the Federal Sector report explores procurement options and agreements that may be useful to federal agencies interested in implementing microgrids at their sites. Microgrid complexities, implementation considerations, and suggestions to get started are also discussed. This information will be most useful to agencies when they are exploring electric energy system resilience options or considering different procurement options to meet their needs.

DOE's CHP Technical Assistance Partnerships (CHP TAPs) promote and assist in transforming the market for CHP, waste heat to power, and district energy technologies/concepts throughout the United States. CHP TAPs provide fact-based, non-biased engineering support to manufacturing, commercial, institutional, and federal facilities and campuses.

FEMP created a Battery Storage Technical Specifications template for federal agencies seeking to procure lithium-ion battery energy storage systems (BESS). Agencies can customize the template language to fit the needs and requirements of the agency.