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NREL - National Renewable Energy Laboratory
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Power Generation

Distributed power generators — small, modular electricity generators typically sited close to customer loads — offer advantages that large-scale, capital-intensive, central-station power plants cannot provide.

By siting smaller, more fuel-flexible systems near energy consumers, distributed generation avoids transmission and distribution power losses and provides a choice of energy systems to the utility customer.

Many distributed power systems produce so little noise or emissions that they can be located inside, or immediately adjacent to, the buildings where the power is needed. This greatly simplifies the problems of bringing power to expanding commercial, residential, and industrial areas.

Distributed power systems offer reliability for the growing number of businesses and consumers who need dependable, high-quality power to run sensitive digital equipment. They can also provide alternative, less-expensive power sources during peak price periods.

Distributed power generation technologies use a variety of fuels, including natural gas, diesel, biomass-derived fuels, fuel oil, propane, hydrogen, sunlight, and wind.