CHP part of the energy independence equation
Proven cogeneration efficiencies point to eventual departure from oil and coal
In September of 2012, Nicole Decker, oil and gas analyst for USB Financial Services stood before the Houston chapter of the American Association of Drilling Engineers and declared North America would be energy independent by 2020.
The most important factor in Decker’s oft-cited analysis was the recent discoveries of natural-gas rich shale formations.
Just over a year later, those finds, along with government incentives and the re-emergence of Combined Heat and Power as an efficient, clean, and reliable technology, are poised to have a significant impact on oil and coal reliance.
Energy companies are tapping into some of the largest reserves in the world across seven major U.S. shale formations, including the Barnett, Bakken, Eagle Ford and massive Marcellus shale, which is the second largest natural gas find in the world and sprawls across about 95,000 square miles of New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia and Maryland.
While these finds alone give hope for energy independence, it is the exponentially greater efficiencies created by Combined Heat and Power technology that gives weight to the predictions.
The origins of CHP go back 130 years to when Thomas Edison used the technology as the core of the world’s first commercial power plant. The technology simultaneously generates electricity and thermal energy from a single fuel source.
Dalkia Aegis, EDF Group, LLC has taken that same technology and made it modular, compact, and affordable. These highly-efficient systems simultaneously generate electricity and thermal energy from a single fuel source, natural gas. By installing a CHP system designed to meet the thermal and electrical base loads of a facility, Dalkia Aegis’ Combined Heat and Power systems can greatly increase the facility’s operational efficiency and decrease energy costs.
How efficient is CHP?
Consider that the existing power grid operates at a paltry 33-percent energy efficiency; discharging about twice as much heat as electrical energy it delivers to end users. The total of energy lost in wasted heat from generating power in the U.S. each year is greater than the total energy consumption of Japan.
Conversely, CHP has been shown to operate at up to 90 percent
Another Dalkia Aegis innovation, the Shared Savings program, eliminates one of the largest barriers for facilities looking to alternative energies; the cost of capital improvements.
The unique Shared Savings program allows clients to take advantage of energy cost savings from a Dalkia Aegis Combined Heat and Power system regardless of their capital improvement budget. Dalkia Aegis, EDF Group is responsible for the total installation and operating costs of the system. It’s a win-win for both the installer and the building, which is able to enjoy energy savings without any upfront or operating costs.
Finally, legislation is being passed to reduce carbon emissions at coal-fired plants by 40 percent and funding has been made available to help businesses develop CHP projects. President Obama set a goal of adding 40 gigawatts of new CHP production by 2020.
Decker referred to the perfect storm of shale production and government incentives as “an energy renaissance.”
That renaissance, along with innovative CHP systems and programs like the one offered by Dalkia Aegis, EDF Group, could finally lead to North America’s long-stated goal of energy independence.