Research Papers: Energy Systems Analysis

Distributed Generation (DG) and the American Electric Utility System: What is Stopping It?

[+] Author and Article Information
Benjamin K. Sovacool

Centre on Asia and Globalisation, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy,  National University of Singapore, 469C Bukit Timah Road, Singapore 259772, Singaporebsovacool@nus.edu.sg

J. Energy Resour. Technol 130(1), 012001 (Jan 25, 2008) (8 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2824296 History: Received May 25, 2007; Revised September 01, 2007; Published January 25, 2008

Despite the immense environmental, technical, and financial promise of distributed generation (DG) technologies, they still constitute a very small percentage of electricity capacity in the United States. This manuscript answers the apparently paradoxical question: Why do technologies that offer such impressive benefits also find the least use? Going beyond technical explanations of problems related to system control, higher capital costs, and environmental compliance, this paper focuses on sociotechnical barriers related to utility preferences, business practices, regulatory bias, and consumer values. The approach helps us understand the glossing over of DG technologies, and identifies the impediments that policymakers must overcome if they are to find wider use.

Copyright © 2008 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Grahic Jump Location
Figure 1

Thermal efficiency of power units∕plants, 1882–2003 (27)



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