Q:  What are Distributed Resources?

 Distributed Resources are typically small scale capacity generation and storage technologies (usually less than 1 MW) -- suitable for use in peak shaving and distributed applications.

The term "distributed resources" includes modular power technologies and nongenerating demand side management (DSM) measures, such as energy efficiency improvements, that reduce the load at the distribution level of the transmission and distribution (T&D) grid.

Q:  What is Distributed Generation?

Distributed generation is the locating of electricity generators close to the point of consumption. It provides some unique benefits to power companies and customers that are not available from centralized electricity generation.

Distributed power technologies are inherently modular, and can include renewable energy, fuel cell, and cogeneration systems.

Q:  How is power distributed?

The U.S. electric system is made up of interconnections and balancing authorities

Electricity generated at power plants moves through a complex network of electricity substations, power lines, and distribution transformers before it reaches customers.

In the United States, the power system consists of more than 7,300 power plants, nearly 160,000 miles of high-voltage power lines, and millions of low-voltage power lines and distribution transformers, which connect 145 million customers.

U.S. Powere Regions


Local electricity grids are interconnected to form larger networks for reliability and commercial purposes. At the highest level, the United States power system in the Lower 48 states is made up of three main interconnections, which operate largely independently from each other with limited transfers of power between them.

The Eastern Interconnection encompasses the area east of the Rocky Mountains and a portion of northern Texas. The Eastern Interconnection consists of 36 balancing authorities: 31 in the United States and 5 in Canada.

The Western Interconnection encompasses the area from the Rockies west and consists of 37 balancing authorities: 34 in the United States, 2 in Canada, and 1 in Mexico.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) covers most, but not all, of Texas and consists of a single balancing authority.

Q:  What are some common units of power?

Q:  What are some common units of energy?


Acronyms and Abbreviations

kVA Kilovolt Amperes
KW Kilowatt
kWh Kilowatt hour
LEBS Low Emission Boiler System
LHV Low Heating Values
MCFC Molten Carbonate Fuel cell
MGE Madison Gas and Electric Company
MISO Midcontinent Independent System Operator
MW Megawatt
MWH Megawatt Hour
NAAQS National Ambient Air Quality Standards
NDB Non Demand-Billed
NEC National Electric Code
NFPA National Fire Protection Association
NG Natural Gas
NOx Nitrogen Oxides
NREL National Renewable Energy Laboratory
PAFC Phosphoric Acid Fuel Cell
PEMFC Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell
PSC Public Service Commission
PSD Prevention of Significant Deterioration, related to air quality
PURPA Public Utility Regulatory Policy Act
RPS Renewable Portfolio Standards
SCR Selective Catalytic Reduction
SMES Superconducting Magnetic Energy Storage
SO2 Sulfur Dioxide
SOFC Solid Oxide Fuel Cell
T&D Transmission and Distribution
THD Total Harmonic Distortion
TSP Total Suspended Particulate
UL Underwriters Laboratories
VOC Volatile Organic Compounds
W/m2 Watts per Meter Squared
WE We Energies, part of WEC Energy Group
WI Work Input, related to energy input
WIDRC Wisconsin Distributed Resources Collaborative
WPPI WPPI Energy, non-profit serves 51 locally owned electric utilities
WO Work Output, related to energy output
WP&L Wisconsin Power and Light Company, a subsidiary of Alliant Energy Corp.
WPSC Wisconsin Public Service Corporation, part of WEC Energy Group