Alternative Energy

June 29, 2010

Building Energy Efficiency – Distributed And Renewable Energy Sources

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In my early career, I had some success with selling, putting in and constructing energy efficiency system comparable to industrial warmth recovery warmth pumps, condensing heat exchangers, thermal storage and geothermal warmth pumps. I also completed research on low head hydro, biomass, cogeneration and district heating systems. Many good functions were discovered for these applied sciences and through the years there have been many government and utility incentive programs for them. These systems can create vital energy savings and reductions in greenhouse fuel emission. However they’re complex to design, construct and operate, as well, are very expensive.

In many cases, these techniques provide an alternate energy source for the top user. In essence, the end user turns into his own energy supplier or energy generator. Before making the decision to maneuver down this path the top user has to decide what business am I in? If my firm is an industrial, industrial or institutional enterprise does it really wish to become an influence generator?

The US Department of Energy describes Distributed Energy Resources (DER) as power generation and storage systems placed at or near the purpose of use. If carried out properly, these techniques can provide the end user with larger reliability, adequate energy quality, decrease emissions and in combined heat and energy (CHP) applications, improved efficiency. Beyond the direct benefits, DER can allow the top user to participate in competitive electric power markets. From a utility infrastructure perspective, DER has the potential to mitigate transmission congestion, control value fluctuations, strengthen security, and provide greater stability to the grid. This is why many utilities and governments support these tasks as a method of resolving bigger system problems.

Distributed energy encompasses a variety of technologies together with fuel cells, micro turbines, reciprocating engines, and energy storage systems. Renewable energy technologies—such as solar electricity, solar buildings, small-scale hydropower, geothermal, biopower, and wind turbines—also play an important role.

Distributed Energy
The non-renewable on-site era technologies usually depend on natural gas as a gasoline source. The costs to implement these systems vary from $300 to $1,100/ kW for typical engines and turbines as much as $10,000/kW for fuel cells, which are still considered developmental. The price of electricity produced by these systems is dependent on the price of gas, system efficiency and working and maintenance costs, but usually runs in the range of $0.10 to $0.15/kWh.

From the top users perspective, these technologies are good for peak shaving, emergency energy generation or for offsetting electricity demand when purchased electricity charges exceed these levels. If waste heat can be recovered from these systems and used to produce usable heat for house or course of needs, then the general efficiency of the methods can improve to the purpose where it’s economical to run them on a continuous basis to produce end-user energy demand. In these cases, there can be significant direct and oblique greenhouse gas emission reductions.

Renewable Energy
For renewable vitality technologies, the implementation costs can be significantly higher within the range of $4000 to $10,000 per kW. When the Government of Ontario introduced the launch of a Feed-in Tariff Program, renewable vitality projects turned a fascinating subject. The FIT program offers incentives of as much as $0.80/kWh and contains renewable energy sources, wind, waterpower, renewable biomass, bio-gas, landfill fuel and solar. Implementing renewable power technologies can displace non-renewable power consumption and supply significant greenhouse gasoline emission reductions.

Regardless of which type of distributed energy system the end user selects, he will ultimately grow to be his own power supplier. Becoming your individual energy provider requires a level of operation knowledge and sophistication, which can be past most end users. Granted, many engineers dream about big power projects that can serve as a lasting monument to their technical abilities, however, the decision to embark on these projects must be taken throughout the context of the company’s energy management plan.

A good building energy efficiency management plan, as previously mentioned will consider massive capital projects solely after other operational and retrofit opportunities have been implemented. This will help to avoid over sizing distributed power system. If at this point, it is found that these systems still provide advantages to the tip user, I would recommend partnering with a company that may share in the associated fee and advantages of designing, constructing and working a system that meets the top users objectives. This will allow the tip user to reap a portion of the advantages consistent with the energy management plan and not lose focus of what business they’re in. As Theodore Roosevelt as soon as said, “Keep your eyes on the stars and your toes on the ground.”

If you have already got a distributed vitality system in your facility, you may have the opportunity to participate in Demand Response programs.

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