Distributed Energy Resources

One of the most significant changes to electricity systems around the world has been the emergence of new technologies that can support locally-owned facilities for electricity generation, control and storage. These technologies, often referred to as Distributed Energy Resources (DERs), are transforming the way communities meet their energy needs.

Local Supply to Meet Local Needs

Until recently, electricity has been generated at large power plants far from urban centres and transmitted over long distances, giving most electricity customers very little choice about the source of that electricity.

While large power plants continue to play an essential role in Ontario’s electricity system, new smaller-scale technologies, like solar panels and onsite battery storage, enable communities to produce and distribute their own electricity, reducing their reliance on the provincial electricity system.

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How DERs Benefit Ontario

DERs are becoming increasingly popular among individuals, businesses and local hydro companies. They:

  • Give customers control: DERs reduce reliance on the provincial electricity grid by supplying some (or all) of the energy needed for a home, facility or business, which helps lower electricity bills
  • Lower system costs: DERs can be located close to urban centres, which limits (or avoids) the need for new or upgraded transmission lines
  • Provide energy security: DERs can be connected to the local or provincial grid, providing back-up power during emergencies

The IESO’s Role in Integrating DERs

DERs supply some (or all) of a community’s energy needs, which reduces the amount of electricity the provincial system needs to provide.  

However, DERs are connected to community-level electricity grids, which are controlled by local hydro companies. They are not connected to the provincial grid. Because of this, the IESO, as Ontario’s provincial grid operator, is not able to fully determine the total number of DERs in operation around the province, so has focused on:

  • Locating Ontario’s DERs and driving awareness of how much energy they can provide
  • Funding research that studies the integration of DERs into the provincial electricity system
  • Leveraging DERs to drive affordability, reliability and operability
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Grid Innovation Fund

The Grid Innovation Fund supports projects that have the potential to obtain electricity savings for Ontario’s ratepayers – by either enabling DERs to compete in the electricity market or helping customers better manage their electricity use.

Learn more about the Grid Innovation Fund

Different Types of Distributed Energy Resources

Overview | Grid Innovation Fund

The Grid Innovation Fund supports innovation with the potential to achieve significant electricity bill savings for Ontario ratepayers – either by enabling greater competition in Ontario’s electricity markets or by helping customers better manage their energy consumption.