Archive: Distributed Energy

GE Launches 9.5-MW Engine for Distributed Generation

A 9.5-MW gas engine unveiled by GE this October for decentralized, independent power producers in remote, hot, or high-altitude regions features a 48.7% electrical efficiency and promises to reduce lifecycle costs by lowering fuel consumption.

Smart Power Generation at UCSD

The University of California, San Diego has been accumulating awards for its savvy use of a constellation of power generation and energy-saving technologies. The campus already controls a fully functioning microgrid—including a cogeneration plant—and, as befits a research institution, is constantly looking for new ways to make its energy system smarter. This “living laboratory,” as campus leaders like to call it, demonstrates what it takes to build a smarter grid and why the effort is worth it.

Matching Load and Generation at UCSD

“Smart Power Generation at UCSD” explains how the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) is maximizing the value of combined heat and power. However, like any other grid-controlling entity large or small, the campus has to match generation and load. Its two Solar Turbines gas turbines operate in baseload mode 24/7 while the cogeneration side of the plant maximizes the value of “waste” heat and electricity that isn’t needed to serve immediate load by generating steam and chilled water for campus heating and cooling.

Microturbine Technology Matures

Microturbine technology has evolved from early systems of 30 kW to 70 kW to today’s systems, which can have individual ratings of 200 kW to 250 kW. Packages up to 1 MW are now available that can be assembled into multipac units for projects of 5 MW to 10 MW. These modern units are packaged with integrated digital protection, synchronization, and controls; they produce high combined heat and power efficiencies; and they are capable of using multiple fuels.

What Utility Executives Think About the Smart Grid

This summary of results from a recent Platts/Capgemini survey of North American utility executives looks at what respondents had to say about all things related to the smart grid. Nearly half of respondents’ utilities have a smart grid strategy in place, while the other half said their utility has one in development.

Brazil: Latin America’s Beacon

With the eighth-largest economy in the world, Brazil has a clear need for power, but balancing supply and demand has proven tricky in recent decades. Even in a country where over 80% of generation capacity comes from renewables, planning for future capacity additions isn’t straightforward or easy.

The U.S. Gas Rebound

"It’s déjà vu all over again," said Yogi Berra. The Hall of Fame catcher could easily have been predicting the coming resurgence of natural gas – fired generation. Yes, a few more coal plants will be completed this year, but don’t expect any new plant announcements. A couple of nuclear plants may actually break ground, but don’t hold your breath. Many more wind turbines will dot the landscape as renewable portfolio standards dictate resource planning, but their peak generation contribution will be small. The dash for gas in the U.S. has begun, again.

The Odd Couple: Renewables and Transmission

The tension between the growing number of renewable energy projects and limited transmission capacity is reflected in Washington’s legislative agenda of establishing a national renewable portfolio standard and new transmission lines dedicated to moving renewable energy coast-to-coast. Even if those ideas become law, hurdles to the happy marriage of renewables and transmission remain.

Turkey Opens Electricity Markets as Demand Grows

Turkey’s growing power market has attracted investors and project developers for over a decade, yet their plans have been dashed by unexpected political or financial crises or, worse, obstructed by a lengthy bureaucratic approval process. Now, with a more transparent retail electricity market, government regulators and investors are bullish on Turkey. Is Turkey ready to turn the power on?

Canada Moves to Rebalance Its Energy Portfolio

Though Canada is rich in fossil fuels, nuclear power may fuel a significant portion of the nation’s future electrical generation needs, especially in provinces that have traditionally relied on hydropower and fossil fuels.