http://localhost:4503/content/cospp/en/blogs/cospp-blog.html2015-12-17T03:39:03.747ZCOSPP BlogAdobe Experience ManagerUS utilities pass up the benefits of local powernoemail@noemail.orgSteve Hodgson<p>Has the summer been hot enough for you so far? But spare a thought for the effects of unusually high temperatures on power plants and other components of any national energy system. In the US, record summer temperatures and stormy weather last year led the Department of Energy to issue a report full of worry: that increasing temperatures, decreasing water availability, more intense storm events, and sea level rise will each affect the ability of the US to produce and transmit electricity.<br> <br> We are talking about climate change. Last July was the hottest month in the US since records were first kept in 1895, and 2012 the warmest year overall. &nbsp;<br> <br> The DOE would like to see accelerated deployment of ‘climate-resilient’ energy technologies – in this category we can include distributed generation. Among the advantages of decentralized energy plants are their small-scale and localized nature, and the absence of a need to transmit power over large distances. Electricity transmission and distribution systems are a source of significant energy losses at the best of times and, as the DOE report makes clear, they operate less efficiently when ambient temperatures are higher, and face risks of damage from&nbsp; more intense and frequent storm events.<br> <br> Thirsty nuclear power plants and remote large-scale wind farms may be ‘climate-friendly,’ but resilient to extreme weather events they are not.<br> <br> Yet, with some exceptions, US utilities show little interest in investing in distributed generation and CHP schemes, mainly because their business and regulatory structures tend to discourage them. In the US (and many other countries) most of the benefits that CHP conveys to utility systems are not measured or adequately quantified, and so they do not enter into a utility’s decision-making activities. So says the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE).<br> <br> Electric utilities are, according to ACEEE, missing out on the benefits of CHP in at least three ways. First in avoided or deferred investments in T&amp;D systems; second in increased system resilience; and third in more cost-effective electricity generation. Opportunities to invest exist, given the potential for new capacity in the US, but although economic benefits to hosts sites are clearly understood, the often more significant benefits to utilities are not.<br> <br> I wrote in my first ever blog entry for COSPP a year ago that utilities may well hold the key to CHP success in the US. This remains the case. Symmetrically, small-scale and efficient local generation may also hold the key to eventual success for US utilities.<br> <br> </p> http://localhost:4503/content/cospp/en/blogs/cospp-blog/2013/08/us_utilities_passup.html2013-08-05T16:39:00.000Z2013-08-05T16:40:29.691ZDistributed power market trends to 2020 – 4 predictionsnoemail@noemail.orgDiarmaidW<p>&quot;With the northern hemisphere summer now fully on us, many will be spending some time by the sea, and viewing the far horizon&quot;, writes this week's <b>Guest Blogger, Michael Brown</b>.&nbsp; <br> <br> &quot;And so it’s maybe a good moment to try to look beyond this horizon and consider what awaits markets for distributed power up to 2020.&quot;<br> <br> Here are Michael's four predictions that relate to some of the main market drivers:</p> <p>&nbsp;·&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;<b>The low carbon agenda will bounce back strongly.&nbsp;&nbsp;</b>Green consciousness, driven by climate concerns, peaked pretty well at the same time as Lehman Bank collapsed in 2008.&nbsp; Since then, it’s been all about economic turmoil for many countries.&nbsp; In Brussels, at the heart of <a href="">the EU</a>, discussion of the climate agenda is ‘toxic’ today.&nbsp; This won’t last.&nbsp; The increasing stream of extreme weather events, together with slow but steady economic recovery, will put the issue back at the top of the global political agenda, easily before 2020.&nbsp; That may be too late to save the planet, but it will sure be good news for low carbon incentives that favour high efficiency CHP.</p> <p>·&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;<b>Strong economic recovery in Europe.&nbsp;&nbsp;</b>By 2020, the European economy will be cruising strongly at full throttle – with the German power-house at its heart.&nbsp; The quality of Europe’s industrial and technological infrastructure, its open markets, the dynamism of the eastern European countries and the benefits of years of austerity will all play their part.&nbsp; Since the multi-year recession has been holding back investment in distributed power for several years (for example see our&nbsp;<a target="_blank" href="">new gas engine European market analysis</a>), the upswing will generate a new surge of deployment.</p> <p>·&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;<b>Slow growth in the BRICs</b>.&nbsp; For years, it has become a firmly accepted view that the BRIC countries (the strongly emerging markets, eg Brazil, Russia, India, China etc) will continue to grow at high rates each year, for years, and that we must look to those countries for distributed power opportunities.&nbsp; However, growth in the BRICs is already well down on only one year ago.&nbsp; This slowdown could easily last for a few years as the countries struggle to adjust, possibly with consequences for social unrest.&nbsp; All-in-all, there may well be a need for a fast revision of distributed power marketing strategies that have focussed on these large countries.</p> <p>·&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;<b>Energy efficiency will be the new renewables.&nbsp;&nbsp;</b>Renewable electricity generation has been the predominant beneficiary of the green agenda that came to the fore after 2000.&nbsp; Yet, compared to low carbon heating and energy efficiency, its impact on carbon emissions is modest.&nbsp; By 2020, the <a href="">policy agenda</a> will instead be dominated by the need to accelerate improvements in energy efficiency.&nbsp; The early signs are already there: the new, though modest, EU Energy Efficiency Directive, and a raft of measures in the US.&nbsp; Efficient distributed power systems that recover heat will be substantial beneficiaries of this agenda.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Michael Brown is a Director at&nbsp;Delta Energy &amp; Environment (<a href=""></a>), a specialist decentralised energy research and consulting company.&nbsp;For more information on global distributed power market trends, please contact Michael at&nbsp;<a href=""></a>.&nbsp;</p> http://localhost:4503/content/cospp/en/blogs/cospp-blog/2013/07/distributed_powerma.html2013-07-15T16:23:49.170Z2013-07-17T12:20:36.156ZDistrict energy aids resiliencenoemail@noemail.orgDiarmaidW<p>By Steve Hodgson<br> <br> In the same week that President Obama proposed a mechanism to bypass the lengthy and largely gridlocked US legislative process – by instead ordering the US Environmental Protection Agency to begin controlling US carbon emissions – the benefits of <a adhocenable="false" href="">CHP</a> and <a adhocenable="false" href="">district energy</a> were debated in Washington, DC.<br> <br> The US Senate Committee on Energy &amp; Natural Resources was briefed by the International District Energy Association (IDEA) on both the efficiency advantages of CHP and district energy, and on the advantages they offer building and facility operators in terms of energy ‘resiliency’.&nbsp;</p> <p>The Committee was last week debating the Local Energy Supply and Resiliency Act (LESRA).</p> <p>If Obama’s case for controlling US greenhouse gas emissions, promoting renewables and protecting coastal cities from climate change-induced flooding is compelling, then so are the arguments put forward to the Senate Committee in a paper by IDEA’s Legislative Director Mark Spurr.</p> <p>The US is way behind many <a adhocenable="false" href="">European</a> countries in adopting CHP, he said, and is wasting vast quantities of energy in inefficient power stations. Increasing the proportion of US electricity generated with CHP from the current 9% of the total to 20% by 2030 would avoid some 60% of the projected increase in US carbon emissions and create more than a million high-skilled jobs.<br> <br> IDEA’s particular angle here is that the existence of large-scale district energy systems helps the development of new CHP schemes – local district energy systems pool thermal energy users, providing substantial loads for CHP-generated heat. That’s how Denmark and Finland have achieved their impressive CHP portfolios.</p> <p>But Spurr’s paper goes on to argue another important point on resilience. Grid outages are hugely expensive, with last year’s hurricane sandy costing perhaps $20 billion in lost business activity. But these losses could have been much smaller if more buildings either operated their own CHP scheme or were connected to district energy schemes – which are inherently more resilient to disruption from natural disasters and other grid supply interruptions.</p> <p>I reported in a recent blog entry how the State of New York State and its highly effective Energy Research &amp; Development Authority, NYSERDA, have accepted the resilience argument and are now subsidizing new CHP schemes there.<br> <br> IDEA would like to see the principle extended across the US, even if the legislative route for LESRA is going to be long and difficult.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> http://localhost:4503/content/cospp/en/blogs/cospp-blog/2013/07/district_energy_aids.html2013-07-01T15:13:00.586Z2013-07-01T15:19:45.514ZDistrict cooling extends local energy to the Middle East noemail@noemail.orgDiarmaidW<p>The well-understood concept of <a adhocenable="false" href="">district heating</a> can be extended to a wider district <i>energy</i> scheme, which distribute chilled as well as hot water to local buildings, and possibly electricity as well.<br> <br> But, in some countries of the Middle East, district <i>cooling</i> systems dominate. Indeed, the US-based International District Energy Association (IDEA) has a ‘beyond North America’ category in its annual awards for the number of buildings connected to district energy systems, habitually won by companies connecting buildings in the Middle East to new, large-scale district cooling systems.<br> </p> <p>Awards were won at IDEA’s annual conference earlier this month by Emicool, for its work connecting cooling to buildings in the UAE; Tabreed for work in Abu Dhabi; Qatar Cool (Qatar) and Empower Energy Solutions (Dubai).<br> <br> &nbsp;Necessarily connected to the property development industry, the district cooling sector in the <a adhocenable="false" href="">Middle East</a> has been quieter in recent years, though it can still, in terms of the number of square metres of real estate connected, dwarf efforts to connect buildings to district energy systems in North America. The severity of the climate in many parts of the Middle East ensures that efficiency savings achieved by adopting district, as opposed to single-plant, cooling systems can be very large indeed.</p> <p>But conventional district energy systems in Europe also deliver considerable cost and carbon advantages, most recently documented in a new report from IDEA’s European equivalent, Euroheat &amp; Power. This stresses the need to reform energy supplies to buildings alongside efforts to improve the fabric of those buildings, particularly in cities. Report author Professor Sven Werner from Halmstad University said: ‘Redesigning the heat and cooling supply in Europe will contribute to making any decarbonisation path more robust and affordable.’</p> <p>As in the Middle East, the district energy industry in Europe is very active. This month alone has seen UK-based Centrax winning orders to supply gas turbine packages for use in existing CHP-based district heating schemes in Valence, near Lyon and in the south-west of Paris, France. Meanwhile Siemens has completed construction of the Diemen 34 CHP scheme for Dutch utility Nuon, which has an electrical generating capacity of 440 MW but also distributes 260 MW of district heat to the city of Amsterdam. And the Finnish utility Fortum has inaugurated a waste-to-energy CHP plant that supplies heat to buildings in the city of Klaipeda, Lithuania.</p> http://localhost:4503/content/cospp/en/blogs/cospp-blog/2013/06/district_coolingext.html2013-06-24T15:29:50.083Z2013-06-24T15:30:53.696ZCHP and CCS at the same sitenoemail@noemail.orgDiarmaidW<p>Written by Steve Hodgson<br> <br> Carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology is to arrive in the <a href="">CHP</a> world at some point soon, with five major international technology companies bidding to build a full-scale CCS plant to capture up to 1.5 million tonnes per year of carbon dioxide from the Mongstad CHP plant in <a href="">Norway</a>. The wider Mongstad Energy Project, located at a Statoil refinery on the west coast of Norway, aims eventually to demonstrate both advanced gas-fired CHP technology and CCS.</p> <p>&nbsp;The 280 MWe CHP plant has been operating since 2010. It burns gas from Norway’s Troll field in the North Sea, alongside waste gases from the Mongstad refinery, to provide heat for use at the refinery and electricity both for local distribution and for export to the grid. So far, so conventional. But Statoil and the Norwegian government always intended to trial various carbon dioxide capture technologies from the scheme and, having operated a trial (100,000 tonnes per year) plant for some time, they now plan, funding permitting, to go full-scale. Although considerable uncertainties over support from the Norwegian government for the full-scale plant persist, the intention is clear.</p> <p>&nbsp;The move would see two fine acronyms for the thermal power plant industry – CHP and CCS – operating at the same site, probably for the first time anywhere in the world. But the two technologies are very different. The former is a well-proven technology that increases energy conversion efficiency and confers economic benefits – lower energy costs – onto the user; and environmental advantages – lower net carbon emissions – to the wider community. Capital costs for CHP can be high, but these are recouped in energy cost savings.</p> <p>&nbsp;In contrast, the latter will, if and when some full-scale plants are finally built, impose operational efficiency penalties onto the plant operator and thus cost penalties onto its customers – while also reducing overall carbon emissions. Capital costs for CCS are expected to be sky-high, at least until the industry is established, although the carbon abatement effects will be very considerable.</p> <p>&nbsp;Indeed CCS is seen as the essential future technology addition to allow the continued use of coal and gas-to-power plants around the world, alongside growing renewables. I say ‘future’ because progress towards building even a first full-scale plant has been painfully slow. Contrast this with the century of experience we have, at least in Europe, with CHP schemes.</p> <p>&nbsp;At some point it may become compulsory for fossil fuel power plants to incorporate CCS technology – with associated efficiency penalties. Pity it isn’t already compulsory to locate fossil power plants alongside heat loads so they could all be operated in high-efficiency CHP mode.</p> http://localhost:4503/content/cospp/en/blogs/cospp-blog/2013/06/chp_and_ccs_at_thes.html2013-06-10T16:22:06.110Z2013-06-10T16:22:43.672ZNew York supports CHP to aid grid resilience noemail@noemail.orgHeatherJ<p>By Steve Hodgson</p> <p>Well-designed CHP cuts energy costs and net carbon emissions – but two added advantages are currently being concentrated on in the US. First, that of giving building operators a measure of independence from grid supplied power and, second, reducing stress on local power grids. Americans want to see increased resilience in their energy systems to cope with peak weather events such as heatwaves, hurricanes and major flooding events caused by climate change.</p> <p>Earlier this month, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced $40 million of funding for new CHP systems that generate on-site energy to protect commercial, industrial, health care, institutional and multi-family facilities across New York State from weather-related power disruptions. The initiative follows the high profile demonstration last October of the standby power capabilities of CHP – protecting several buildings in New York State when hurricane Sandy caused widespread power cuts.</p> <p>Just a week later, politicians in Washington DC covered similar ground – learning how district energy, CHP and microgrids can make local energy supply more reliable and more resilient in the face of severe weather events that have caused electricity supply disruptions. The Congressional briefing, organised by the Environmental and Energy Study Institute, also reviewed plans to introduce the Local Energy Supply &amp; Resiliency Act.</p> <p>In both cities, CHP is being seen primarily as a tool to increase the resilience of local power infrastructure. And the State of New York, through its Energy Research &amp; Development Authority (NYSERDA) is happy to subsidise new schemes. In New York, funding is available for gas-fuelled CHP schemes and CHP feasibility studies, with extra funding available for schemes that serve critical infrastructure facilities such as disaster refuge facilities. Schemes located in particular network stress zones, as identified by local utility Con Edison, also qualify for extra support.</p> <p>Cuomo is clear that CHP has an important role to play in keeping New York safe: ‘CHP technology is a clean energy, common-sense solution that keeps the lights on and systems running during emergencies. It is important that we invest in the installation of these kinds of power systems across the state to fortify our infrastructure against severe weather to maintain essential services and business productivity, and most of all, protect New Yorkers.’</p> <p>Major grid outages are still quite rare in North America, and standby generators are there to kick-in to supply essential loads for a while. But when a peak weather event knocks out an entire area, those buildings that already operate their own CHP schemes stand a much better chance of staying in business. </p> http://localhost:4503/content/cospp/en/blogs/cospp-blog/2013/05/new_york_supportsch.html2013-05-22T15:44:04.239Z2013-05-22T15:44:04.241ZLocal grid issues key to US CHP growthnoemail@noemail.orgDiarmaidW<p>Written by Steve Hodgson<br> <br> A combination of improved <a href="">CHP</a> technology, reliably low natural gas prices, and expanding state and utility incentives suggests a good environment for the growth of CHP deployment in the US. There is scope for at least 50 GW of new generating capacity to add to the existing 82 GW of capacity, which is &nbsp;located at over 4,000 sites across the country. So says a new report from environmental group the Natural Resources Defense Council <a href="">(NRDC).&nbsp; </a>&nbsp;</p> <p>While 87% of current US CHP capacity serves manufacturing plants, the potential for expansion is spread between the industrial, agricultural, commercial and residential sectors, says the NRDC. America’s chemicals, paper and food processing plants hold the greatest scope while, away from industry, there is also potential for CHP to be built into office buildings, hospitals, universities and colleges, and multi-family homes.</p> <p>But what’s changed in the <a href="">US</a> that allows an environmental group to paint such a rosy picture? Well, on top of improved CHP technology and low gas prices – largely due to the growth of indigenous shale gas production in the US – the report suggests that it’s the development of effective support mechanisms at state level that will deliver new CHP capacity. Following President Obama’s announcement last August of a national goal to deploy 40 GW of new CHP capacity by 2020, attention has shifted to exactly how states can successfully support new CHP schemes.</p> <p>Although excellent support programmes already operate in a few states – notably California, New York, Massachusetts and New Jersey – there is plenty of room for improvement elsewhere. So, supported by the federal government, an organization called the State and Local Energy Efficiency Action Network (SEE Action) is currently focusing its efforts on CHP. SEE’s latest report aims to provide state utility regulators and other state policymakers with guidance on <a href="">state policies</a> to encourage new CHP schemes. The guidance concentrates not just the benefits of CHP to its users and to utilities, but also on other local ramifications – of its interconnection to the grid, on excess power sales, and on utility revenues.</p> <p>Well-designed CHP is good for its users and the environment, but its impact on utilities and grid operation is complicated. Utilities can either see on-site CHP generation as a threat to their supply revenues; or get on-board by operating CHP plants at customer sites, buying excess power, and enjoying the resiliency that local generation can deliver to the grid. &nbsp;</p> <p>There is significant scope for CHP growth in the US; shale gas has been a major factor here. But it’s solving intricate local grid issues, with the involvement of utilities, that will really make the difference.</p> http://localhost:4503/content/cospp/en/blogs/cospp-blog/2013/05/local_grid_issueske.html2013-05-07T14:56:32.370Z2013-05-22T15:46:19.916ZGermany leads a patchy European CHP scenenoemail@noemail.orgDiarmaidW<p>The outlook for cogeneration/CHP in Europe, particularly for smaller schemes, is patchy, according to individual national markets. And, while there has been growth in installation rates for smaller-scale, CHP systems in recent years in some countries, the current combination of the economic crisis, electricity market issues and ongoing fuel price fluctuations is hitting CHP particularly hard. So says Fiona Riddoch, Managing Director of COGEN Europe, speaking in advance of the annual conference to be held later this week in Brussels, where a full ‘snapshot survey’ report will be presented.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>It’s no surprise that the Europe-wide economic slowdown has had an effect on CHP schemes. Despite the economic advantages of CHP for commercial and public buildings, and small industrial sites, the investment climate is very poor indeed.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Unhappily, the prospects for larger CHP schemes that serve industrial sites are probably no better. Growth in the European industrial CHP sector has been worse than patchy for some years now, as industry itself has suffered from poor long-term economic prospects – those plants that haven’t been exported to lower-cost countries elsewhere in the world. Yet, for industrial production that has remained in Europe, CHP is exactly the sort of cost-cutting intervention that could make a real difference to economic performance, and survival.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The European Commission is currently looking to reverse the declining role of industry, launching a campaign of action last October (a new ‘industrial revolution’) to increase the value of industrial production from 16% of EU GDP to 20% by 2020. However, it’s going to be some time before another industrial revolution comes along, if at all.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Meanwhile Germany, already Europe’s largest single market for CHP, is leading from the front with its brave <i>Energiewende</i> energy transition strategy, including a new CHP Law aimed at ending recent weak growth in CHP development. The 2012 CHP Law proposes the payment of higher premiums for electricity generated by power plants operating in CHP mode, and re-states the principle of priority access to the grid for CHP.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Perhaps a third sector – large plants serving district heating schemes is the most promising. In recent weeks we have seen reports of a CHP plant being built in Dusseldorf to deliver 300 MW of thermal energy to the local district heating network from 2016, as well as 600 MW of power to the grid. However, Germany also seems to manage to serve significant parts of its manufacturing sector with CHP. Several of car manufacturer BMW’s production facilities in Germany are powered by cogeneration plants, including an 11 MWe plant installed earlier this year. With a bold new overall energy policy aimed at renewables and distributed generation, the Germans seem to be ahead of the game at the moment.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Steve Hodgson</p> http://localhost:4503/content/cospp/en/blogs/cospp-blog/2013/04/germany_leads_a_patc.html2013-04-15T15:14:08.711Z2013-04-15T15:15:09.905ZUK gets behind low carbon district energynoemail@noemail.orgDiarmaidW<p><a href="">District heating</a> (or district energy, sometimes also including district cooling), the ‘Siamese twin’ technology to <a href="">CHP/cogeneration</a>, is usually developed and operated either within or closely alongside local government activities. In the <a href="">European</a> model, district heating is often sponsored by the local government; sometimes serves local government buildings and/or public sector housing, and requires close cooperation with highway authorities for the routing and installation of heating mains.</p> <p>And, while district heating is the mainstream technology across Scandinavia and much of eastern and central Europe, it has never fully taken root in the UK. Gas networks and individual gas boilers rule the roost here. So it’s good to see the UK government launch a new support programme for district heating – and other forms of low carbon heating – which seems to mean business.</p> <p>The UK government claims, with some justification, to lead the world with its support programme for heat produced from renewable energy sources, the Renewable Heat Incentive. Now, a year on from publishing its strategy to promote low carbon heat technologies, it has launched an update that pledges a support for new district heating schemes. This includes £10 million of funding to help local authorities to get heat network schemes up and running, and the establishment of a ‘Heat Networks Delivery Unit’ to sit within the national Department of Energy and Climate Change to provide expert advice.</p> <p>Welcomed by the UK CHPA, which called the move ‘the next big step in our energy infrastructure renewal,’ the move also attracted the attention of the US-based International District Energy Association. IDEA President and CEO, Robert Thornton, said: ‘at a time when cities and communities the world over are seeking more resilient, more efficient energy solutions, I applaud the UK [federal] government’s leadership in accelerating deployment of district energy and CHP.’</p> <p>District heating has been making steady, quiet progress in the UK for a few years now, with new schemes joining those first built alongside the boom in public sector house building in the 1960s and 70s. Newer schemes, such as those in Southampton, Birmingham and the City of London, serve prominent commercial sector buildings and retail parks as well as the more traditional local authority buildings and housing. There’s a sense that, aided by the government’s heat strategy, local government is going to drive modern CHP-based district heating systems towards the mainstream in Britain.</p> <p>Not a bad place for district energy to be. ‘A proven, integrative technology that can dramatically reduce energy waste, cut pollution, and strengthen local economies’ according to IDEA, and ‘a job creation machine’ as described by Euroheat &amp; Power.</p> <p>Steve Hodgson</p> http://localhost:4503/content/cospp/en/blogs/cospp-blog/2013/04/uk_gets_behind_lowc.html2013-04-02T14:34:24.639Z2013-04-02T14:34:24.645ZInternational collaboration to promote CHP/DHCnoemail@noemail.orgDiarmaidW<p>Written by Steve Hodgson<br> <br> The International Energy Agency is gearing up for phase 3 work under its ‘CHP/DHC Collaborative’ – with the ambition to accelerate deployment of <a href="">CHP</a> and <a href="">district heating and cooling</a> (DHC) around the world through a programme of international sharing of CHP/DHC data and best practices. The programme links governments, energy agencies, CHP trade associations, consultants and interested equipment suppliers collaborating together to make a difference.&nbsp;</p> <p>Previous phases between 2007 and 2011 – reported in the pages of <i>COSPP</i> at the time – led to publication of 11 ‘country scorecards’ which summarised the status of and prospects for CHP and district energy in China, Denmark, Finland, Germany, India, Japan, South Korea, The Netherlands, Russia, the UK and the US. Although data for some of the countries, mainly those in Europe and the US, is readily available, the Collaborative tackled the much more difficult task of gathering reliable information from countries in Asia, and Russia, and presenting it in a consistent fashion for comparison</p> <p>The other main outcome was a study of legislative and regulatory support mechanisms employed around the world for CHP and DHC. These measures were codified according to type (capital support, ongoing revenue support etc) and sorted so that those measures that had been successful, ie had delivered results in terms of new schemes being built, were highlighted. The theory was that countries new to CHP/DHC, or those looking for new initiatives could, rather than ‘re-invent the wheel,’ adopt policies that have been proven to work elsewhere. The experience involved a good deal of truly international collaboration, under the aegis of the IEA based in Paris, and some valuable idea-sharing.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The plan now is to update the country scorecards and produce a new report on the role of CHP/DHC in strategies for new energy futures being developed around the world. The ongoing economic crisis means that future energy scenarios and potential support mechanisms will necessarily be different to those envisaged even two or three years ago. The new work programme will also include new guidance on business models and financing mechanisms, and will focus on new regions and markets.</p> <p>Of course it’s not easy to be sure that this sort of exercise actually works, ie leads to the greater adoption and use of CHP/DHC. But participants have been enthusiastic so far and the lead supplied by the IEA does deliver real benefits in terms of its global reach, particularly into <a href="">Asia</a>.</p> <p>I wonder what Germany’s <i>Energiewende</i> energy transition strategy, which aims to shift the country away from fossil fuels and nuclear power to renewables, energy efficiency and CHP, looks like from South Korea?</p> http://localhost:4503/content/cospp/en/blogs/cospp-blog/2013/03/international_collab.html2013-03-18T15:06:03.039Z2013-03-18T15:06:03.040ZHospitals and CHP – a perfect fit wins awardsnoemail@noemail.orgDiarmaidW<p>By Steve Hodgson<br> <br> Are there many hospitals in the developed world that don’t rely to some extent on on-site energy supplies from <a href="">CHP/cogeneration</a> systems? Surely not – the fit between the energy needs of most hospital buildings and the strengths of CHP is particularly good.</p> <p>Many hospital buildings have relatively high energy loads for heating, hot water and sterilisation; operate around-the-clock, seven days a week; and need guaranteed continuous power for mission-critical functions from operating theatres downwards. The criteria that optimize the economic case for CHP are high, reasonably steady energy loads and continuous facility operation for as many hours of the week or year as possible. And, where capital resources are limited, the CHP industry will often offer a hospital some sort of long-term energy services arrangement, under which the plant is installed at no capital cost and the hospital and CHP provider share the resulting energy cost savings, typically over a 10 to 20 year period.</p> <p>Add the capability of CHP to also act as a standby power provider and the softer, green and PR advantages of maximizing fuel resource use and minimizing carbon emissions, and the CHP/cogeneration offer is almost too good to be true for the healthcare sector.</p> <p>So it’s no surprise to see three healthcare buildings or estates among the five winners of the <a href="">US Environmental Protection Agency’s 2013 ENERGY STAR CHP Awards</a> made two weeks ago. All three winners cited the ability of the CHP system to supply power during grid outages as an essential part of their installation.</p> <p>In Boston, Massachusetts, the Longwood Medical and Academic Area (LMA), home to&nbsp;five hospitals and several pharmaceutical research centres, has been supplied with steam, chilled water, and electricity by the Medical Area Total Energy Plant (MATEP) for over 25 years. This 46 MW CHP plant was commended for its 75% operating efficiency.</p> <p>Smaller CHP systems at two New York hospitals: the Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx and the NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center also won awards for superior operating efficiency. The 11 MW system at Montefiore allowed the hospital to operate through hurricanes Irene and Sandy, accepting patients from other hospitals that had been forced to close. Siemens Energy and Solar Turbines were the main equipment suppliers for the three systems.</p> <p>Healthcare sector CHP has also been winning awards in Europe – systems serving three UK hospitals won or were commended in the recent UK CHP Association Awards. <b>Centrax</b> and <b>Dalkia</b> were the main suppliers.</p> <p>Steve Hodgson</p> http://localhost:4503/content/cospp/en/blogs/cospp-blog/2013/03/hospitals_and_chp.html2013-03-05T16:32:59.890Z2013-03-05T16:32:59.896ZLearning lessons from power outagesnoemail@noemail.orgDiarmaidW<p>By Steve Hodgson<br> <br> <a href="">New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s announcement</a> of $20 million in support for new CHP systems in the state is all about resilience – keeping NY buildings and industry going during power system outages. But the initiative builds upon a record of $100 million in state support programmes for high efficiency CHP, carried out over the last 12 years through the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In the latest move, NYSERDA will only fund CHP systems that will continue to operate during a grid outage, ie those that can operate in ‘island mode’ and, for plants located in flood zones, the CHP plant must be sited physically high enough to provide a continuous supply even as the worst floodwaters arrive. The programme will pay an incentive of up to $1.5 million per CHP project from 50 kW to 1.3 MW in size.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Last year’s Hurricane Sandy provided plenty of incentive for the State to look at ways to increase the resilience of the power system. Several buildings that already incorporate CHP – and stayed operational during the incident – showed the way forward. But the episode reminds me of a whole series of power outage incidents that started in the north-eastern US but then also spread to several parts of Europe a decade ago.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The ‘great blackout’ of 14 August 2003, caused by malfunctioning transmission and distribution systems in turn caused by under-investment in those systems, left large parts of north-eastern US and parts of Canada without power for a day. This was followed by a major grid failure, caused by local storms, which left parts of southern Sweden and eastern Denmark in the dark for several hours. And then, the whole of Italy (except the island of Sardinia) was brought to a standstill for half a day in September by a chain of transmission system events starting with&nbsp; a tree falling on a 380 kV transmission line in Switzerland.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Reports in issues of <i>COSPP</i> from 2003 made the point that post-privatization under-investment in T&amp;D systems around the world would inevitably lead to this sort of incident occurring more frequently. And, rather than spending all that money on reinforcing power grids, some should instead be spent on encouraging local, distributed generation that would both strengthen grids from the ends, and allow local buildings and industrial sites to work through power cuts. And provide cheaper, often cleaner energy at the same time.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Given the associated disruption and costs, it’s a good job that major power outage incidents in the west are still reasonably rare, though they are a common feature of power systems in many other parts of the world. In the west, it seems like the lessons from 2003 and 2012 are only now being learned, and perhaps only in New York State.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Steve Hodgson</p> http://localhost:4503/content/cospp/en/blogs/cospp-blog/2013/02/learning_lessonsfro.html2013-02-18T17:30:22.853Z2013-02-18T17:30:22.855ZOn-site energy unites corporate and public sector USnoemail@noemail.orgDiarmaidW<p>By Steve Hodgson<br> <br> International car manufacturer <a href=";x=0&amp;y=0">Volkswagen</a> has opened a huge, 9.5 MW ground-mounted <a href="">solar photovoltaic</a> ‘park’ outside Chattanooga, <a href="">Tennessee</a> in the US to provide more than 12% of the power used in its adjacent automotive manufacturing plant. The PV installation is the largest to serve an auto plant in the US and puts Volkswagen into the number 11 slot in the chart of largest users of on-site energy compiled by the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Green Power Partnership.</p> <p>Curiously, the number 2 slot is held by another car maker, BMW Manufacturing, which has generated, for a decade now, more than a third of the power used at its facility in South Carolina from a 10 MW CHP plant at the site. This is fuelled by gas piped in from a nearby landfill site.</p> <p>Two very different installations, but two internationally-recognised car makers that have both seen the benefits of generating at least some of their energy needs on-site, and from renewable sources. This is no niche sideshow.</p> <p>Others towards the top of the chart include Coca Cola, which also uses a landfill gas-powered CHP plant at its Atlanta bottling plant; three Californian cities and one in Oregon that use biogas facilities at wastewater treatment plants and solar installations attached to municipal buildings to provide significant parts of their energy needs. Meanwhile, software company Adobe Systems uses fuel cells operating on landfill gas to provide a fifth of the power needs of its downtown San Jose headquarters building.</p> <p>Landfill gas, solar power, and waste biogases produced at wastewater treatment plants seem to be the main sources of renewable on-site energy recognized by the US EPA. Participating commercial and public sector entities range from Fortune 500 companies to local, state and federal governments, with a growing number of colleges and universities. Again, the management of a disparate list of US companies and public sector bodies are reaping the cost, security and environmental benefits of on-site renewables. Through their participation in the EPA’s Green Power Partnership, they may also be enjoying some positive publicity.</p> <p>But all of these US projects will be put in the shade if current plans by American solar power company SunEdison to install a PV plant in the Atacama Desert of Chile for mining and steel company CAP come to fruition. This plant, which will supply 15% of CAP’s power needs, will have an installed capacity of 100 MW – the first phase is due to be completed by the end of this year.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> http://localhost:4503/content/cospp/en/blogs/cospp-blog/2013/02/on-site_energy_unite.html2013-02-04T16:39:38.022Z2013-02-04T16:39:38.027ZHeat supply secures viability of power plantsnoemail@noemail.orgDiarmaidW<p>Meeting heat loads is, of course, the key to successful CHP implementation. Without a suitable – read substantial in size, reasonably steady and long-lasting – heat load there is no combined heat and power scheme. Meeting local electricity loads and/or successfully exporting excess power to the grid is also rather important, but without a heat load we just have power generation, and none of the efficiency advantages of making use of the co-produced heat.</p> <p>Heat loads in buildings and industrial processes are often very variable and can modulate down to zero at times – that’s why CHP developers seek hotel and hospital buildings that tend to be used 24 hours per day and need plenty of hot water as well as heating and/or cooling. Similarly, in industry, 24-hour processes make the best hosts for CHP schemes.</p> <p>The other way to achieve large, steady heat loads is by amalgamating loads from many individual buildings and industrial sites in a town or city into a single item that can be fed by a district heating or district energy system. With luck, or good design, some of the sites will need heat at other parts of the day or week than others, so that heat plant is used most efficiently.</p> <p>We don’t usually look at power generation from a heat load perspective, but doing so reveals the best locations for new power plants that can then operate at CHP-style efficiencies for maximum benefit for both plant operators and heat and power customers.</p> <p>A recent <i>COSPP</i> news story reported that this is the way CHP is being seen now in Germany – power plant operators believe the success of new power plant builds depends on selling <a href="">district heating</a>. More specifically, operators have confirmed that two projected CHP plants in Cologne and Dusseldorf will be driven by heat rather than power production, with heat production maximised when needed, even at the expense of turning power production down. Gas-fired power-only plants are having trouble staying profitable in Germany just now, and the addition of another revenue stream – heat supply – can make a crucial difference to project economics.</p> <p>Northern Europe, the Baltic region and Scandinavia are all very strong in district energy systems and Finland’s Fortum, particularly focussed on developing and operating CHP schemes, is currently about to invest in a new biofuelled CHP plant to serve the district heating system in Värtan, part of Stockholm in Sweden. Like many plants in this cooler part of the world, the annual heat output, estimated at around 1700 GWh, will be more than twice the size of the electricity output. Meeting those heat loads is all-important.</p> <p>Steve Hodgson</p> http://localhost:4503/content/cospp/en/blogs/cospp-blog/2013/01/heat_supply_secures.html2013-01-21T16:36:13.831Z2013-01-21T16:36:13.833ZLNG terminals and large scale cogenerationnoemail@noemail.orgDiarmaidW<p>By Steve Hodgson<br> <br> The fortunes of <a href="">cogeneration</a> have always been tied to the availability and price of natural gas to an extent, though the connection has weakened a little in recent years with the growth bio-fuelled schemes. Now, with plans to develop new liquefied natural gas (LNG) infrastructure items around <a href="">Europe</a>, a new application area for large-scale cogeneration schemes – that provide the heat needed to turn liquid natural gas into pipeline gas – is opening up. <br> </p> <p>Speaking at a COGEN Europe event in Brussels last December, <a href="">Martin Regan of Shannon LNG</a> listed four existing cogeneration schemes attached to LNG terminals: in Milford Haven, Wales, UK; Zeebrugge in Belgium; Montoir de Bretagne, France; and Kent, UK.</p> <p>The Kent project is at the UK National Grid's LNG terminal on the Isle of Grain. It uses up to 350 MW of ‘waste’ heat from an adjacent, 1360 MWe gas-fired power station operated by E.ON, to warm the LNG before it is injected into the gas pipeline network. The scheme reduces the amount of gas that would otherwise be burned at the terminal.</p> <p>Regan also pointed to cogeneration/LNG schemes either planned or under development, particularly the one planned for the proposed Shannon LNG project in County Kerry, Ireland. Here, the Hess Corporation has established Shannon LNG to develop a terminal to import LNG via tankers and feed the re-gasified product in to Ireland’s gas transmission network. Included in the plan is a 500 MWe cogeneration plant to process the LNG from liquid into vapour, using up to 180 MW of heat.</p> <p>The proposed cogeneration plant would help to meet the Irish government’s CHP target for 800 MW of capacity by 2020, said Regan. Current CHP capacity in Ireland is around 300 MW and there have been no significant additions since 2006, he added.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>Regan also mentioned a second cogeneration/LNG scheme planned for south Wales. Here, Qatar Petroleum, Exxon Mobil and Total Gas and Power Ventures plan to build a 500 MW <a href="">cogeneration</a> plant next to the South Hook LNG terminal near Milford <a title="Click to Continue &gt; by Browse to Save" href="">Haven</a>.</p> <p>So is LNG a significant new opportunity for CHP in Europe? Well, there is never going to be a large number of LNG terminals, but their large and predictable heat requirements lead to very major associated cogeneration schemes, with all the benefits, including carbon emission reductions, that this brings. The efficiency of the E.ON CCGT power station is raised from 58% to 73% through the use of waste heat in the LNG terminal.</p> <p>Natural gas has long been the major fuel source for cogeneration – now it is also a significant application area.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> http://localhost:4503/content/cospp/en/blogs/cospp-blog/2013/01/LNGterminalsandlarge.html2013-01-04T14:39:33.397Z2013-01-04T14:42:04.613ZKeep an eye on BRIC countries - and Africanoemail@noemail.orgDiarmaidW<p>North America and Europe tend to dominate the global <a href="">cogeneration</a> market as much as any other industry sector but, as a feature article in the current print issue of <i>COSPP</i> points out, sometimes market and/or regulatory conditions arise in countries outside these two areas which lead to a surge of new schemes in a short period of time.<br> <br> Often this coincides with the introduction of a new <a href="">support programme</a> for cogeneration from the government, but it can also follow the extension of the gas grid locally or the emergence of a locally-available renewable fuel.</p> <p>The article mentions <a href="">Brazil</a>, where strong national government support has already led to over a gigawatt of new cogeneration capacity being installed since the 1990s, and where the increased availability of natural gas and new state support programmes will continue the growth of cogeneration. As if to back this up, we have since seen the opening of a new cogeneration scheme, supplied by Metso to a paper mill in Brazil, which supplies steam for the pulp manufacturing process and power both for use on-site and for export.</p> <p>The same issue also features a series of cogeneration installations that include gas turbine technology from OPRA in another of the ‘BRIC’ (Brazil, Russia, India, China) countries, which are said to be not so far behind the world’s two major markets in energy infrastructure project activity. The Russian installations serve oil and gas field sites, many in remote locations where grid power is unavailable but gas is both plentiful and cheap.</p> <p>Recent weeks have also seen a new 4 MW cogeneration scheme being opened to replace old diesel gensets at a Honda motorcycle and scooter factory in a third BRIC country – India. Two GE Jenbacher CHP units generate the on-site energy.</p> <p>But we are also seeing activity in Africa, which may eventually follow the BRIC countries as an important source of new energy business opportunities. Energy and chemicals company Sasol is currently commissioning a 140 MW gas-fuelled cogeneration plant at its facility in Sasolburg in South Africa to replace grid power.<br> <br> Meanwhile, Canadian and Saudi Arabian companies Nova Scotia Sustainable Energy and Tala Investment are developing a sugar cane biofuel cogeneration project in Sudan. Last, Finland’s Wärtsilä has extended its agreement to operate and maintain a 47 MW on-site power scheme at the United Cement Company of Nigeria plant in Nigeria’s Cross River State.</p> <p>We are well used to the successful cogeneration and district industries operating in many parts of Europe and Scandinavia. Similarly, parts of the US and Canada have well-developed CHP and district energy sectors. But also watch the BRIC countries, Asia and even Africa if you want to see the whole picture.</p> <p>Steve Hodgson</p> http://localhost:4503/content/cospp/en/blogs/cospp-blog/2012/12/KeepaneyeonBRICcount.html2012-12-17T13:34:46.930Z2012-12-17T13:37:34.851ZEnergy conversion efficiency can help Europe cut costsnoemail@noemail.orgDiarmaidW<p>There’s much debate in<a href=""> Europe</a> at the moment about how to generate lower carbon power, whether by (lower-carbon-than-coal) gas, renewables and/or nuclear reactors; discussions around the now-published UK Energy Bill being one example. But there is also a resurgence of interest in end-use energy efficiency, reducing energy demand and load management – three slightly different techniques for cutting energy use so that less has to be generated in the first place.</p> <p>A report commissioned by <a href="">Germany’s Federal Environment Ministry</a> from the Fraunhofer Institute is just the latest to quantify the scope for cutting energy use in Europe. It suggests that <i>the EU’s primary energy demand could be</i> <i>cut by two-thirds</i> by implementing energy efficiency measures; 90% of which pay for themselves in reduced energy costs. The report identifies annual savings of up to <i>€500 billion</i> across Europe by 2050.</p> <p>These are very big numbers indeed. The largest gains are to be made in the buildings and transport sectors and industry could cut its energy bills by €100 billion per year, mainly through the use of <a href="">CHP</a> at site level, says the report. Aside from end-use energy efficiency gains, it’s the efficiency with which heat and power are generated in a CHP unit that delivers the goods for industrial and other users. Well-designed and properly-sized CHP plants often convert 80% or 90% of the energy contained in the fuel into useful heat and power, well above what can be achieved with a combination of electricity from remote, inefficient power stations and on-site boiler plant.</p> <p>&nbsp;Energy conversion efficiency within CHP plants is a valuable addition to the gains to be made from switching to less wasteful energy-using equipment, buildings and industrial processes.</p> <p>&nbsp;Yet the market for industrial scale CHP in Europe has been very slow for a number of years now. This is partly due to lack of confidence in the survival of industry itself in Europe – many companies have been transferring manufacturing facilities to lower-cost regions of the world. And few new industrial plants have been built in Europe.</p> <p>&nbsp;And, although Europe has seen a dearth of traditional large-scale CHP schemes being built at industrial sites (although 400 MW coal-fired CHP scheme is being discussed in Belarus), plenty of smaller, waste and biomass-fuelled plants are being built. The last month has seen announcements of a biogas-fuelled CHP scheme for a logistics centre in Germany; new biogas CHP schemes for wastewater treatment plants in Poland and the UK; and the use of wood waste to fuel a CHP scheme for a furniture manufacturer in Italy.</p> <p>Energy efficiency is not all about end use of energy – all these sites will use high-efficiency generation on-site to deliver significant cost and environmental benefits.</p> <p><b>Steve Hodgson</b></p> <p>3 December 2012</p> http://localhost:4503/content/cospp/en/blogs/cospp-blog/2012/12/Energyconversioneffi.html2012-12-03T14:50:03.726Z2012-12-03T14:51:02.919ZSmall is beautiful - even in the USnoemail@noemail.orgDiarmaidW<p>The energy battleground today is not one where fossil fuels and renewable energy sources fight for supremacy; but between a highly-centralized approach, with giant generation plant connected to its loads via long-distance transmission lines, and at least a partial dependence on a <a href="">decentralized</a>, local approach with smaller plant serving adjacent energy loads.</p> <p>This is particularly true for larger countries where transmission distances can be huge. I have been struck by views put forward by two <a href="">US</a>-based commentators who, while from different ends of the decentralized energy world, agree that local energy is beginning to win some battles.</p> <p>Rob Thornton runs the <a href="">International District Energy Association</a> and believes that the US is already entering a new age of smaller-scale, more nimble and cleaner local energy assets. Despite the advocacy efforts of the very powerful fossil-fuelled utilities lobby, he sees distributed generation making headway in heat-intensive industrial sectors; in cities where planners and economists are seeking higher quality lifestyles; and in a sector he labels ‘MUSH’ – municipalities, universities, schools and hospitals, all traditional areas for CHP and district energy.</p> <p>Meanwhile, Dick Munson leads on public affairs for Recycled Energy Development, which mainly supplies <b>CHP plants</b> to industrial clients. He majors on the considerable benefits that locally-generated power delivers to electricity system operators in unused line capacity and reduced transmission losses, all without any reward to the local generator. But he also points to wind and large-scale solar lobbyists now seeking new transmission corridors to connect to, all to be paid for by someone else. Centralized generation will continue to have an important role, of course: it works very well for continuous supply and load balancing purposes and, with smart grid technology, the mixture of centralized and local systems will get better.&nbsp;</p> <p>Both point to the 12% of total US electricity already generated by 80 GW of CHP plant. The US federal government now plans a 50% increase in installed capacity over the next few years, with better policy coordination and assistance to states. Investment in new distributed plant would be encouraged by a greater emphasis on meeting urban heat loads with local CHP, says Thornton, and by rewarding decentralized power generators for the services they supply, adds Munson.</p> <p>This isn’t just an American game; indeed many, particularly in Europe, would claim to be way ahead of efforts to decentralize energy in North America. In fact, the game is changing on both sides of the pond, with efficient, responsive and local energy being preferred to large, transmission-dependent power systems.</p> <p>Steve Hodgson</p> http://localhost:4503/content/cospp/en/blogs/cospp-blog/2012/11/Smallisbeautiful-eve.html2012-11-19T14:03:48.592Z2012-11-19T14:04:46.207ZKeeping the power on during interruptionsnoemail@noemail.orgDiarmaidW<p>The power is back on in most of <a href="">Manhattan</a>, but neighbouring authorities are still working to re-connect their customers – the Long&nbsp; Island Power Authority says it will have re-connected 90% of customers by Wednesday. <br> <br> Around 3 million homes in north-east US remain without electricity a full week after hurricane Sandy’s destructive journey across the north-eastern corner of the US.<br> <br> It doesn’t happen often, thankfully, but Sandy has revealed once again a vital additional advantage for operators of commercial buildings that have their own <a href="">on-site power</a> supplies. Additional, that is, to the more obvious cost and environmental advantages, particularly when power is generated alongside heat in a high efficiency <a href="">CHP/cogeneration plant</a>.</p> <p><b>Hospitals </b>and <b>university campuses </b>are particularly well-suited to CHP and many of these facilities were able to keep most of the lights on even as utility power feeds were cut last week. CHP plants cannot survive major flooding incidents any more than other types of electrical equipment. <br> <br> <b><a href="">But buildings with their own on-site generation can, if the generation plant is configured appropriately, continue to operate during utility power cuts.</a></b><br> <br> The on-site generation plant may only serve a proportion of the overall electrical loads – pre-identified essential loads – but, in a hospital this can mean the difference between staying open, and shipping patients out.</p> <p>Of course stand-by generators are also designed to keep vital electrical loads supplied in emergencies, but operators of buildings that run their own energy systems every day are in a more secure position, and can often keep a higher proportion of site loads supplied during interruptions.</p> <p>Microturbine energy systems manufacturer Capstone reports that its on-site power plants, which serve hotels, data centres and health care facilities from Virginia to New Jersey, operated ‘seamlessly’ during the storm. One installation played a crucial role – Salem Community College in New Jersey also operates as a Red Cross Disaster Relief Shelter and was able to stay fully open due to its microturbine-based heat and power supply system.<br> <br> Capstone’s Mid-Atlantic distributor lost its utility power but operated its monitoring and data gathering services without interruption with the help of its own on-site power system.</p> <p>Also in New Jersey, cogeneration equipment at Princeton College kept that site open throughout the incident – see the College’s video on YouTube to see how.</p> <p>It’s not the main selling point, but the ability to stay open for business during power outages is an additional, powerful argument for on-site CHP/cogeneration.</p> <p>Steve Hodgson</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> http://localhost:4503/content/cospp/en/blogs/cospp-blog/2012/10/2012/11/Keepingthepowerondur.html2012-11-05T16:10:19.612Z2012-11-05T16:20:29.309ZMore (local) power to citiesnoemail@noemail.orgDiarmaidW<p>Why should city-dwellers be forced to pay for the very high costs of maintaining aging and remote power transmission networks, when they could be generating their own electricity supplies locally, and more cheaply? Well, they shouldn’t, according to the City of Sydney, Australia and, perhaps, representatives of many other cities.</p> <p>Sydney has ambitious plans to develop a series of locally-sited trigeneration schemes to provide three-quarters of its electricity needs by 2030. The proposed city-wide scheme, to run on natural and renewably-produced gas, will also supply heating and cooling to buildings. In the meantime, the City’s residents and businesses are being forced to pay for upgrades to the network that transports electricity, generated in coal-fired power stations 200-300 km away in the Hunter Valley, to the City.</p> <p>Network charges used to fund maintenance of hundreds of kilometres of power lines already make up more than half of electricity bills in Sydney, and this is set to rise to 60% by 2014. The problem is that operators of the electricity infrastructure in New South Wales have embarked on a five-year, A$17 billion upgrade programme that will cost more than $2000 per person, according to the City. The programme is designed to help the network handle demand spikes during the hottest and coldest days of the year, even though the full capacity of the power lines is only used for around 40 hours per year.</p> <p>Quite sensibly, the City says the best way to proceed is to reduce peak demands, by providing financial incentives for demand-side reduction measures, and to develop local energy production. It has called on the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) to reform how it regulates electricity network companies to encourage locally-produced power.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Demand-side reduction measures tend to be highly cost-effective compared with the alternative of delivering ever more power. Sydney’s proposed $440 million trigeneration network could save electricity consumers $1.5 billion in avoided spending on network upgrades and new power stations by 2030, according to a study by the University of Sydney.</p> <p>Of course, while the residents and businesses of Sydney are using that inefficiently-generated power, they are under some obligation to help pay to keep the transmission lines working. But, in Sydney, as in many other cities around the world where large power and heat (and cooling) loads exist together, there is a better alternative.</p> <p>And I haven’t mentioned the carbon-saving aspects of local trigeneration, particularly in this case with the attendant coal-to-gas switch. More (local) power to the City of Sidney.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Steve Hodgson</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> http://localhost:4503/content/cospp/en/blogs/cospp-blog/2012/10/2012/10/More(local)powertoci.html2012-10-15T14:31:00.000Z2012-10-15T14:36:46.152ZDon't overlook local green energynoemail@noemail.orgDiarmaidW<p>Just recently, the top two news stories on the <i>COSPP</i> website both feature large industrial cogeneration plants (in the hundreds-of-megawatts range) fuelled with natural gas; both, coincidentally located in the Far East. While these plants are hugely important in the cogeneration world, I want instead to sing the praises of a series of recent on-site energy projects that work in a different way and on a different scale. For these schemes, an innovative approach by their developers and the utilization of locally-available renewable or waste fuels, have yielded projects of some elegance – that serve as fine examples of the future for local, green energy.</p> <p>Let’s start with a bioenergy project in Canada. The University of British Columbia has opened a facility that turns local tree trimmings and wood chips, via a gasification process and an engine-based CHP plant, into heat and power for use at the university. Nexterra and GE Jenbacher have supplied the gasification and CHP technologies.</p> <p>Meanwhile, in the UK, a biological waste treatment plant near Cambridge relies for 70% of its daylight operating energy needs on a 5 MW solar photovoltaic scheme built by Lightsource Renewable Energy and Solarcentury some 3 km away. Unlike most utility-scale PV schemes, this solar power plant sends nearly all its output, via a dedicated cable, to one client organisation.</p> <p>Also in the UK, developer the TEG Group is building an anaerobic digestion facility at a new industrial park in East London to turn 30,000 tonnes per year of locally-sourced organic waste into biogas – to produce power for use by neighbouring tenants of the park. The plant will also produce digestate and compost products for sale.</p> <p>Last, back to North America, where a CHP plant turns waste methane gas extracted from a local landfill site into heat, cooling and power for use at a Coca Cola bottling plant in Atlanta. The benefits of this scheme have been recognised with a Green Power Leadership Award from the US Environmental Protection Agency.</p> <p>These very different projects illustrate how a range of renewable or waste fuels are already being used locally, with high-efficiency cogeneration where appropriate, to cut fossil fuel use, energy bills and carbon emissions for businesses on both sides of the Atlantic.</p> <p>We see and hear a lot of debate about the various options for future energy systems – new nuclear, offshore wind, shale gas and LNG among them – all large-scale options. It would be foolish to overlook the sizeable and essential component that many smaller-scale projects using <i>local</i>, green energy could make. </p> http://localhost:4503/content/cospp/en/blogs/cospp-blog/2012/10/2012/10/Don'toverlooklocalgr.html2012-10-01T15:30:53.285Z2012-10-01T15:54:40.417ZUtilities may hold the key to USCHP successnoemail@noemail.orgPatrickD<p>Will Obama get his way on CHP in the US? The US federal government has followed the President’s executive order of a couple of weeks ago – calling for action to see 40 GWe of new industrial CHP capacity installed by the end of 2020 – with a report on how the target could be achieved.</p> <p>The target is very ambitious – 40 GW of new capacity represents a 50% increase in the installed capacity of CHP in the US, and would lead to savings of around $10 billion a year to industry</p> <p>The report repeats a couple of old – and shocking – statistics that ought to have a made CHP a huge success many years ago – that the average efficiency of power generation in the US has remained at 34% since the 1960s, and that the heat discarded at US power stations is greater than the total energy use of Japan.</p> <p>The US government aims to address the new target with a programme of policy coordination, guidance on investment and assistance to states. This programme will need to be decisive to have an impact – annual CHP capacity additions have been very low indeed recently, less than a gigawatt, since 2005.</p> <p>But there is room for optimism. The report, prepared by the US Department of Energy (DOE) alongside the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), identifies three new drivers that ought to help. First, the emergence of significant supplies of shale gas has reduced the overall price of gas, the main fuel for CHP, and this is expected to continue. Reduced gas prices means a higher ‘spark spread’, the difference between gas and electricity prices that is crucial for the economic case for CHP.</p> <p>Second, US state policymakers are increasingly adopting policies to support CHP, having recognized the benefits to users. More than 20 states now recognize and support the technology. Last, and here’s where the hand of the EPA is evident, new power sector air quality regulations will cause operators to close some coal-fired plants, leaving a gap for new generation capacity to fill.</p> <p>But the key to the increased uptake of CHP may lie with the utilities changing their attitudes. European utilities saw this truth some time ago – that, far from seeing on-site CHP plants being a cause of revenue erosion, utilities can make money from partnering with industrial operators that want to use CHP at their sites, sharing the resulting savings. Investment by utilities is particularly advantageous where the local grid is congested and in need of support.</p> <p>Steve Hodgson</p> <p>14 September 2012</p> http://localhost:4503/content/cospp/en/blogs/cospp-blog/2012/09/Utilitiesmayholdthek.html2012-09-19T16:09:58.257Z2012-09-19T16:16:58.765Z 500

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