Virtual Course

Online Distributed Energy Resources Fundamentals Course

This foundational course—presented in a new online format—provides a comprehensive overview of the DER landscape, use cases, potential grid services, and costs. Get insights on the challenges and opportunities for public power.
August 25, 2020
12:00pm EDT - 3:30pm EDT

Virtual Training

Unable to attend an in-person class but interested in pursuing training on distributed energy resources? Join us on August 25 as we debut this course as a 3.5-hour interactive online class. It’s a convenient way to 'attend' the course, while still having the opportunity to interact with the instructor, your industry peers, and earn continuing education credits.


Participate in one, real-time session from Noon – 3:30 p.m. Eastern on August 25. There will be a 15-min. break at 1:45 p.m. Eastern.

Course Overview

The electric utility industry is undergoing a revolution. As the foundation of the legacy bulk electric system erodes, new grid models emerge with distributed energy resources (DERs) at the forefront. These technologies pose both daunting challenges and valuable opportunities for public power in rethinking the economics and management of their systems.

Get a comprehensive overview of the DER landscape, use cases, potential grid services, market players, and costs of DERs and discuss how to incorporate them into your strategic planning. Learn how new DERs are proliferating and impacting energy production, storage, management, and transactions. Discuss new technologies, new types of customers, changing customer expectations, new market participants, and evolving business models. Get insights on dealing with the challenges of lost revenue and increased costs and complexities while taking advantage of opportunities to diversify your business, upgrade your systems and operations, and respond to your customers and communities.

Course Topics

Attendees will receive electronic materials in advance of the session and will participate in group discussions, Q&A sessions, and work through real-world examples. Topics include:

  • Why DERs are proliferating
  • What are DERs and what do they do?
    • Physical DERs (energy sources, storage, consumption, management)
    • Virtual DERs (energy efficiency, management, and transactive energy)
  • Challenges and opportunities for public power
  • Proactive approaches to DERs
    • Applications and case studies
    • Vendors and products
    • Planning, interconnection and operations policies

Recommended for

Utility staff and policymakers looking for a comprehensive overview of distributed energy resources.


The following continuing education credits will be provided, after successfully completing the session. Completion certificates will be emailed out on August 31.

Recommended CEUs .3/PDHs 3.25/CPEs 3.8
Field of Study: Specialized Knowledge

Course Level

Basic: No prerequisites; no advance preparation. 

Training Materials

You’ll receive log in information a week prior to the event, as well as a reminder on the morning of the class. You’ll also receive an electronic copy of the course materials in advance, as well a copy of the class recording afterwards, in case you miss the live event or want to review the content.


Steve Collier is Vice President of Business Development at Conexon, LLC, which helps electric distribution utilities deploy fiber to the premises so that their customers can have true gigabit Internet access and so the utility can achieve the best possible smart grid solutions.

A well-known and highly regarded Energy/telecommunications/information technology expert, Steve writes, speaks, teaches, and consults on the development of a modern, intelligent electric power grid. He has worked with Houston Lighting & Power Company, Power Technologies, Inc., Sandia National Laboratories, C. H. Guernsey & Company, Cap Rock Electric Cooperative, the Institute for Management Development and Change, Util-LINK LLC, the National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative, and Milsoft Utility Solutions.  Steve is a member of the IEEE and served as chairman of the IEEE Industry Applications Society Rural Electric Power Committee and as member of the board of directors of IAS. He is a member of the IEEE Smart Grid Operations Committee and former chair of the IEEE Smart Grid Education and Marketing Committees.


Register Now

Registration fees: $350 for members; $700 for nonmembers

Not a member? Join today and save on your course registration. Call Member Services at 202-467-2926 to learn more.


Registrants who cancel in writing on or before August 18, 2020, are entitled to a refund of their registration fee, minus a $50 cancellation fee. Registrants who cancel after August 18 will not receive a refund, but attendee substitutions will be allowed for this event only. Registrants and no-shows who do not cancel by August 18 are responsible for the full registration fee and are not entitled to a refund.

Group Pricing

Save $50 on each registration when registering a group of 5 or more people. Contact [email protected] for details.


Contact us at [email protected].

Earn While You Learn!

Participate in this online program to earn Continuing Education Units (CEUs), Professional Development Hours (PDHs) and Continuing Professional Education credits (CPEs).

Attendees are required to attend and participate in the entire learning event and complete an online evaluation at the end of class. Partial credit is not given. Attendance and participation will be monitored by an APPA staff member and completion certificates will be emailed out on August 31. 

This class will be recorded (in case you miss the live version), though credits can only be given for attending the live event.

What educational credits are available?

You can earn the following kinds of educational credits for attending the live event:

  • Continuing Education Units (CEUs) from the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET)
  • Professional Development Hours (PDHs) as established by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES)
  • Continuing Professional Education (CPE) Credits from the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA)
  • Human resources credits from the Human Resources Certification Institute (qualifying HR sessions only)

Please note that you will only be able to earn educational credits if you attend both live sessions. We are not able to offer educational credits for watching recordings.

Format and Log-In Information

Presented in one, 3.5-hour session, this engaging and practical online course features real-time presentations, Q&A, online polling, and group discussions.

This live session will be hosted through Zoom. The instructor will combine lecture style teaching with interactive features to stimulate dialogue and participation. Instructions on how to join and participate in these events will be sent out a week in advance of the class. 

Technology Platform

Zoom was chosen for its ease of use, great handling of video, and accessibility. Attending a Zoom meeting doesn’t require any additional software installed on the attendee’s computer—it can run completely out of a web browser. We know that many organizations limit the installation of desktop clients, so using a service that can run using a web browser makes the meeting more accessible to our members. Zoom’s ability to support multiple video feeds will also enable online networking beyond the capabilities of many other platforms.

To ensure the best experience for attendees, it is also important that our staff have experience using the platform. APPA staff have such experience with Zoom, both as attendees and administrators. Zoom has been successfully deployed for Public Power Connect Virtual Summit & Business Meeting (our largest event of the year); in addition to several other summits, classes and meetings.  Staff have also participated in a number of other virtual conferences using Zoom, including events held by the American Society for Association Executives (ASAE); Dragos; the Energy Bar Association; among others.

We are aware some organizations have cybersecurity concerns regarding this platform. Zoom had several high-profile problems at the start of its recent rise to prominence. The company was responsive to these issues and addressed many of them. While it still may not be appropriate for hosting sensitive discussions, we do not feel Zoom presents any problems for hosting general interest discussions, like the sessions we have planned for the virtual summit.

APPA has implemented all the recommended precautions and best practices recommended to minimize the possibility of security issues, such as authenticating all participants are registered for the event, utilizing virtual waiting rooms, requiring meeting passwords, and creating unique URLs for all attendees to participate in the meeting.

Technology Requirements

Zoom can be used on laptops, desktops, tablets, and smartphones. Participation is required during class, though using a webcam is optional. The current technical requirements for Zoom, along with recommendations for various devices, are available on the Zoom website:

  • Desktop Computers (Windows and Macintosh)
    See the Zoom Help Center documentation for system requirements for Windows and Macintosh desktop computers
  • Mobile Devices (Smartphones and Tablets)
    See the Zoom Help Center documentation for system requirements for mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets running either the iOS or Android operating system.