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Distributed Generation

Distributed Generation is defined as any small-scale power generation technology that provides electric power at a site closer to customers than central station generation. These decentralized energy technologies offer significant advantages over conventional grid electricity sources. One important advantage is that distributed generation can reduce or eliminate the need to build new transmission and distribution lines or upgrade existing ones. Additionally, distributed power is well suited for the use of some renewable energy technologies that can be located nearer to the user and can be installed incrementally to match the load requirement of the consumer.

Distributed generation can take advantage of advanced technologies such as gas turbines, microturbines, fuel cells, and renewables, which can result in reduced emissions of air pollutants. Distributed generation also can entail the capture and re-use of waste heat (combined heat and power) or by-product gases (such as biogases from landfills and waste water treatment plants). 

Distributed generation provides a multitude of services to utilities and consumers, including stand-by generation, peak shaving capability, base load generation or cogeneration. It is expected that distributed generation will provide economic and environmental benefits in the future given the continued technological and technical advances.

Combined Heat and Power (CHP)

Read Combined Heat and Power: A Decade of Progress to learn about CHP as a near-term energy solution to enhance energy efficiency, reduce carbon emissions, promote economic growth, and foster a robust energy infrastructure.


Net Metering regulations in Virginia

General information about distributed generation (DG)

The Environmental Protection Agency's Combined Heat and Power Partnership


Microturbines are used to generate electricity and have outputs of 25 kW to 500 kW. They offer a number of potential advantages compared to other technologies for small-scale power generation. These advantages include a small number of moving parts, compact size, light-weight, efficiency, and low emissions. Microturbines can be convenient and economical in many situations, including generating power off the grid, back up generation, peak shaving, and converting landfill gas to energy.

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Virginia Department of
Environmental Quality
P.O. Box 1105
Richmond, VA 23218
(804) 698-4000

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