This is a first in a series of at least 5 seminars around the winter break to survey Distributed Energy Resources (DER) research questions and various Berkeley capabilities available to address them. The electricity industry in industrialized countries may be about to reverse a century long trend towards ever larger scale, ever more centrally controlled power systems. The emergence of technologies that are competitive at small scales, close to loads, in large part because of the opportunities created to capture waste heat and locally control power quality might signal a radical paradigm shift for the power sector. The Consortium for Electric Reliability Technology Solutions (CERTS) has been working to develop a technical framework that would allow efficient and simple operation of small-scale generators clustered with loads in local groupings called microgrids. Conceptually and in simulation, a electrical engineering system that will allow plug-and-play operation of small generators, while protecting sensitive loads and ensuring economic and environmentally sound operation has been developed. This system, the CERTS Microgrid, will be tested in bench tests in 2003 and in a field test the following year. Future work will involve development of control systems that allow the CERTS Microgrid to function connected or islanded from the traditional power system, or macrogrid, and to solve economic, environmental, policy, and regulatory problems so that a favorable environment for microgrid development can be created.