Distributed energy is when electricity is produced by a large number of small generators (solar roofs, wind turbines, etc.), as opposed to a centralized power supply based on a large power stations.
Centralized power supplies include nuclear and coal plants, but also large-scale photovoltaic power plants and large wind farms. Distributed power generation includes small-scale solar, wind, and biomass plants. The benefits of distributed power generation include:
- More efficient energy distribution
- Less need for grid expansion
- Reliability and safety
Especially for developing countries, where not everyone has access to the electrical grid, distributed generation makes sense. Solar and wind power can be set up in relatively isolated areas, rather than making the electrical grid come to them.