Distributed energy generation and sustainable development

Kari Alanne, Arto Saari

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature reviewScientificpeer-review

564 Citations (Scopus)


Conventionally. power plants have been large. centralized units. A new trend is developing toward distributed energy generation, which means that energy conversion units are situated close to energy consumers, and large units are substituted by smaller ones. A distributed energy system is an efficient, reliable and environmentally friendly alternative to the traditional energy system. In this article, we will first discuss the definitions of a distributed energy system. Then we will evaluate political, economic, social, and technological dimensions associated with regional energy systems on the basis of the degree of decentralization. Finally, we will deal with the characteristics of a distributed energy system in the context of sustainability. This article concludes that a distributed energy system is a good option with respect to sustainable development. (c) 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)539-558
Number of pages20
JournalRenewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2006
Externally publishedYes
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • sustainable development
  • reliability
  • energy system
  • distributed energy generation
  • degree of de-centralization


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