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by Jeff St. John
January 31, 2020

SAN ANTONIO — The power grid business is increasingly about integrating renewable energy and distributed energy resources at scale. Just ask any grid vendor at DistribuTech, the country’s biggest annual utility industry trade show.

As with years past, this year’s DistribuTech conference featured a dizzying array of technologies to monitor, manage and orchestrate electricity that’s increasingly coming from rooftop solar PV, behind-the-meter batteries, plug-in electric vehicles or commercial-industrial microgrids. It also showcased the software innovations that are allowing utilities to tap demand-side resources to balance their growing wind and solar mix, or tap smart meter data for customer and grid insights through energy disaggregation technologies.

We’ve tracked the year-by-year progress from grid giants like General Electric, Siemens, ABB and Schneider Electric in bridging the gap between traditional grid technologies and the new world of distributed energy resources and digital networks. Much of this work falls under the common rubric of distributed energy resource management systems — a term that can mean very different things depending on how the underlying technology is put together.