Pub. date: 2011 | Online Pub. Date: May 04, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412973816 | Print ISBN: 9781412996822 | Online ISBN: 9781412973816| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
A. Vernon Woodworth
Distributed generation is a term used to describe any process for the production of electricity that is localized, with minimal transmission and distribution systems. Distributed generation stands in contrast to centralized methods of energy generation that provide electricity across a large region by means of a network (often referred to as “the grid”) of high- and low-voltage transmission lines with substations, and associated voltage loss and high infrastructure costs. Distributed generation generally falls within the range of 3–10,000 kW of generation and involves less initial investment, greater reliability (fewer outages) and consistency (fewer power dips or surges), and in almost all instances, less environmental impact than centralized generation. A combination of circumstances including the development of alternative energy sources, environmental regulations, utility restructuring, and a rapidly developing marketplace for electrical energy have made distributed generation an increasingly important strategy for the development of new energy capacity. The primary defining element ...