News

MID-SCALE CHP TO GROW BUT ‘AT THE MERCY OF SPARK SPREAD’

Prospects for the market for ‘mid-scale’ CHP in Europe remain uncertain, despite some optimism that 2007 will see the re-start of growth in Europe’s CHP capacity across the size range. The problem for mid-scale CHP – defined here as between 30 kWe and 3 MWe – is that the sector remains highly susceptible to a range of market variables, particularly ‘spark-spread’ (the difference between gas and electricity prices) that may look good today but will always be uncertain longer-term. Indeed, the mid-scale sector CHP has never performed in a way that suggests it may reach its considerable potential – and perhaps never will.

These were some of the points made in a gathering of CHP suppliers and users, energy services companies and utilities at a Mid-Scale DE Summit, organized by research and consulting firm Delta Energy and Environment and held in Amsterdam in September.

The prospects for mid-scale CHP are difficult to predict with any accuracy, as the sector is driven or slowed by a variety of continuously changing forces, the fundamental one being spark-spread. When gas prices are low and electricity prices high, mid-scale gas-fired CHP becomes economic and there have been periods of time when healthy markets have been created in several countries. But as soon as the gap closes the market disappears. ‘I’ve switched off more CHP plants than I have installed,’ said one participant of his experience of examining the operating performance of CHP plants installed in one energy price era and operating in another. If the spark spread is not sufficiently high, then running a gas-fuelled CHP plant costs – rather than saves – money.

Other forces are at work in the market, some of these quite positive. Since the arrival of emissions trading, some companies have decided to take their carbon emissions profile seriously and install CHP and other on-site technologies to keep these under control. Carbon has started to be seen as a ‘currency’ in some quarters. And there have been a few government support programmes that also help to subsidize the installation of CHP. But environment-minded chief executives and government grants schemes come and go, leaving the mid-scale sector vulnerable to distinctly variable and unpredictable energy price swings.

Two things may strengthen CHP in the future – increased pressure to control carbon emissions and the emergence and then maturing of new on-site technologies, particularly fuel cells. Optimism was expressed about both.

Delegates did not foresee any help from utilities, though – these are still seen in many quarters to be obstructing the installation of CHP onto their networks. However, utility representatives present at the event said that they do have plans to establish divisions to enter the mid-scale DE marketplace – a clear signal that utilities see potential growth here.

Europe’s market for large-scale, industrial CHP is well developed in many countries, but has been stagnant for several years now despite the recent CHP Directive designed to force Member States to both monitor and encourage growth of CHP. The main driver for its future growth here is a directive that has nothing to do with CHP or distributed energy – the Large Combustion Plant Directive. This is having real impact by forcing the closure of the dirtiest large-scale power stations around Europe and creating room in the market for replacement plant, some of which may be CHP.

Meanwhile, the market for micro-CHP, including units designed to serve single homes and small commercial premises, while having enormous potential, still awaits the maturing of the requisite technology.

WORLD TRADE CENTER COMPLEX WILL INCLUDE 4.8 MW OF FUEL CELLs

Buildings planned to replace the World Trade Center in New York are all to be designed to achieve the US Green Building Council’s ‘Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design’ (LEED) Gold certification requirements, including the installation of 4.8 MWe of fuel cell CHP plant.


New York’s Freedom Tower will include one of the largest fuel cell systems in the world
Click here to enlarge image

New York Governor George Pataki announced that the Freedom Tower, World Trade Center Office Towers 2, 3 and 4, as well as the World Trade Center Memorial and Memorial Museum, will all be included. The announcement includes an entire package of energy and environmental measures that will be incorporated into the redevelopment scheme: the Freedom Tower and other facilities will feature state-of-the-art energy technologies to better protect environmental resources, utilize renewable energy sources, and maximize energy efficiency.

These buildings join construction projects already involved with the LEED programme, including World Trade Center 7, which was certified as LEED Gold earlier this year. The facilities will also be built to a design standard that is 20% more efficient than the New York Energy Conservation Construction Code, says the Council.

Governor Pataki announced an agreement with Silverstein Properties that calls for the Freedom Tower and each of the World Trade Center Office Towers to utilize fuel cell technology to increase efficiency and provide secure, clean, on-site power generation. The fuel cell installations, totalling 4.8 MW of power generation capacity, will together constitute one of the largest fuel cell installations in the world.

‘The redevelopment will be a global example of green building design and a constant reminder of our commitment to break the cycle of dependence on foreign energy,’ said the Governor. ‘By moving forward with state-of-the-art design and guidelines, New York will once again show the world our ingenuity, innovation and commitment to building a stronger, brighter future for all.’

The creation of a ‘green’ World Trade Center site builds on the progress in Battery Park City, the neighbourhood closest to the site and one of the most environmentally responsible neighbourhoods in the country. Battery Park City is home to The Solaire, the world’s first green residential high rise and LEED Gold building, and Goldman Sachs is constructing a new office tower that will be designed to earn LEED Gold certification, says the Council.

750 KW FUEL CELL PLANT FOR CALIFORNIA RESORT

FuelCell Energy, Inc, has announced the sale of a 750 kW fuel-cell-based cogeneration plant to a hospitality and entertainment resort in California. The unit was sold through the company’s distribution partner, Alliance Power, Inc.

The facility, comprising three DFC300MAT plants, will use the ‘Direct FuelCell’ (DFC) power plant to provide baseload power around the clock for hotel operations, as well as providing thermal energy in the form of hot water.

Alliance Power will provide technical guidance during the installation phase that will be performed by the facility and operations group of the resort, making this the second installation performed directly by an end-user. This is a trend that the FuelCell Energy expects to increase as more companies realize they can drive down capital costs by installing the power plants themselves.

The cogeneration plant is expected to be operational by April 2007, and FuelCell Energy is to provide ongoing maintenance services under a multi-year service contract.

Pacific Gas and Electric, administrator for the California Public Utilities Commission’s Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP), is to provide incentive funding of US$1.9 million for the installation. California’s Governor Schwarzenegger recently signed into law a bill which extends the closure of the SGIP from 2008 to 2012.

The market for cogeneration applications across the hotel and hospitality industry in California is estimated to be more than 500 MW. This equipment sale increases FuelCell Energy’s orders to date in California to 9 MW.

‘California continues to be a strong market for ultra-clean distributed generation,’ said James Michael, President of Alliance Power. ‘This facility becomes our seventh customer in two years to choose DFC power plants for their baseload power requirements.’

CHP TO SUPPLY ENTIRE ENERGY LOADS OF US MEDICAL CENTRE

The entire electrical power and steam heating needs of a 500-bed regional hospital, which serves northern Maine and adjacent regions, are to be supplied by a new, 4.5 MWe cogeneration plant completed and commissioned on-site by Vanderweil Engineers’ Power Group and Cianbro Construction. The Eastern Maine Medical Center (EMMC) is located in Bangor, Maine, US.

Vanderweil says it designed the new plant as a cogeneration facility to produce steam year-round for both winter heating and summer cooling, using a steam-powered absorption chiller. The design is innovative for the healthcare industry and gives the hospital the means to save millions of dollars in energy costs, thereby helping to reduce the costs of providing patient care. The project also allows the facility to maintain full operation in the occasion of a major and prolonged utility outage such as a regional blackout, ice storm, or hurricane.

The project received support from state organizations, legislators, and the US Department of Energy, which gave EMMC a multi-million dollar grant for its construction.

EUROPE’S SECURITY OF SUPPLY ‘UNDER PRESSURE’

The average margin between electricity supply and demand fell to its lowest-ever figure of 4.8% in 2005 and early 2006, a full percentage point lower than the 5.8% margin in 2004, according to the latest version of Capgemini’s European Energy Markets Observatory.

The fall in margin was driven by an increase in consumption that was not matched by sufficient new operating plants, as well as more extreme weather conditions. These included record-breaking high temperatures in the summer of 2005 – which led to a much greater demand for air-conditioning systems across Europe – and severe cold spells and low rainfall in Spain and France.

The low power margin is a wake-up call to the energy industry, governments and regulators that security of supply in Europe is now under severe pressure, despite the steps that they have taken to address the problem, such as investing in generation and transmission infrastructure and attempting to introduce a common European energy policy, says Capgemini.

The electricity capacity margin was most under pressure in Spain, where real capacity margins decreased to -4%, despite an increase in generation capacity of +8% or 5500 MW. Other countries have addressed the margin issue through greater investment in generation capacity. They include the UK, which increased its generation capacity by 13%, achieving a margin increase of +1% and Ireland, which increased capacity by 36% and achieved an increase in margin of +21%.

Colette Lewiner, energy, utilities and chemicals global sector leader at Capgemini, said: ‘Investment in generation is not growing fast enough and even the surge in electricity and gas prices did not give a strong enough signal to boost these investments at the right level. Spot electricity wholesale prices surged by 70% compared to the previous year with peak prices up to €270/MWh. This followed large increases in oil prices (a 53% increase in 2005 prices compared with 2004) and gas prices (a 38% rise), high prices for carbon dioxide emission rights and tight supply and demand conditions.’

MEGAWATT-CLASS FUEL CELL HYBRID POWER PLANT ‘BY 2012’

EnBW Energie Baden-Wuerttemberg AG and Siemens Power Generation (PG) are joining forces in a research project that should conclude with the building of a megawatt-class demonstration fuel cell hybrid power plant with an efficiency of up to 70%.

The necessary groundwork, to provide the basis for construction of an initial, small pilot plant, is scheduled to be completed by 2008, and this will be followed in 2012 by the planned 1 MW fuel cell hybrid plant. The efficiency of the hybrid device is to be achieved by combining a high-temperature fuel cell with a gas turbine, which will also minimize emissions. The efficiency of the hybrid process is significantly greater than that of modern gas- and steam-turbine power plants that reach a maximum efficiency of approximately 60%, says Siemens.

The project involves intensive background research to optimize operation of stationary fuel cells in conjunction with gas turbines. Siemens will initially supply a high-temperature SOFC fuel cell with a capacity of 5 kW.

Since 2001, EnBW has operated a state-wide programme to provide funding for a wide variety of fuel cells which are being used directly by customers and partners in real-world power applications. This has allowed EnBW to draw technical experience from the operation of more than 20 plants. Initial experience with biogas-powered fuel cells has also been gained since 2006.

During the initial phase of this project, which is scheduled to run for three years, the individual components will serve as the basis for development of an operating concept and a corresponding simulation model. The associated control concept will be developed by the Institute for Aviation Engineering. The test components themselves will be coupled together in the next phase of the project starting in 2009, and the configuration will be optimized beginning in 2012.

In solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC), an electrochemical reaction converts fuel energy directly and very efficiently into electricity and heat. In a hybrid power plant, the hot exhaust gases exiting the fuel cell are fed into the gas turbine, thereby reducing or totally eliminating the fuel consumption of the turbine. The gas turbine makes it possible to operate the fuel cell at increased gas pressure, which makes it more efficient.

‘We look forward to laying the groundwork for broad application of hybrid fuel cell technology in both distributed and centralized power generation in a long-term,’ said Norbert Koenig, member of the group executive management of the Siemens Power Generation Group.

SOLAR CELLS TO POWER UK ROADSIDE PHONES

Britain’s Highways Agency has begun a €30 million programme to replace over 6500 emergency roadside phones with new technology, powered by compact solar cells, across the motorway and trunk road network in England. The solar cell technology has been developed by the Photovoltaic Centre at the New and Renewable Energy Centre (NaREC) in Blyth, Northumberland.


Solar cells to power emergency roadside phones in Britain
Click here to enlarge image

NaREC’s photovoltaic team, which helped in the development of world record advances in silicon-based solar cell efficiency, were able to win the contract with the telephone design company GAI-Tronics by producing a 24 cm x 9 cm cell that is 25% more efficient than rival designs. The high-level efficiency and reliability of the solar cells will ensure a long-term standalone power source for the roadside phones.

The cells will be designed to sit in a polycarbonate dome on top of the structure and will generate 1.8 W of power directly into a rechargeable battery. The use of solar power will enable the telephones to be fully self-powered.

DANFOSS LOOKS TO BIOMASS DH

Denmark-based district heating company Danfoss has acquired 100% of the shares of Austria’s Nopro Wàƒ¤rmesysteme, which markets substations and automatic controls for biomass-based district heating systems. The company has 35 employees and a turnover in 2005 of approximately €5 million.

The market for biomass-based district heating systems is mainly concentrated in Austria, southern Germany, and northern Italy, and it is expected to grow by more than 15% per annum during the coming years, says the company.

In the future, Nopro’s headquarters in Katsch will be the Danfoss competence centre for biomass-based district heating, and at the same time the company will gather the district heating sales organization in Austria under one umbrella.

‘We consider biomass-based district heating systems to be a niche with considerable potential. We are already a leading player in the market for district heating substations and controls, and Nopro possesses valuable knowledge and competences within biomass systems as well as having a good share of the current fast-growing market. Based on that, we believe that together we can make a substantial impact on the market in the coming years,’ said Executive Vice President and COO of Danfoss A/S, Niels Christiansen.

GAS TURBINE TECHNOLOGY FOR GTL PROJECT IN QATAR

GE’s Oil & Gas business is to supply six Frame 6B gas turbines, equipped with dual fuel integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) type combustion systems, to Qatar Shell GTL Ltd for the Pearl gas-to-liquids (GTL) project in Ras Laffan Industrial City, Qatar.

The gas turbine generators will be installed in a cogeneration configuration that will produce 180 MW of power for use in the facility, which has a design capacity of 140,000 barrels per day of GTL products including naphtha, kerosene and lubricant base oils. The project marks the first time that Frame 6 units have been deployed with IGCC technology.

Through the implementation of IGCC combustor technology, the gas turbines will be able to burn a range of low-calorific-value fuel gases, including a process off-gas derived from the core GTL reactors. Natural gas is the back-up fuel, and will be used for plant start-up. Steam injection will be used to reduce NOx emissions.

The overall project includes the development of offshore natural gas resources in Qatar’s North Field, transporting and processing the gas to extract natural gas liquids and ethane, and the conversion of the remaining gas into clean liquid hydrocarbon products through the construction of the world’s largest integrated GTL complex.

The Frame 6B gas turbine core engines will be manufactured at GE’s plant in Belfort, France and packaged at GE Oil & Gas facilities in Florence, Italy. The six units are scheduled for shipment in late 2007 or in 2008. The first gas turbine units will be required to meet power requirements during the commissioning of the GTL facility, which is scheduled to begin commercial operation by the end of the decade.

ON-SITE WIND TURBINE FOR UK MANUFACTURER

A British company that supplies goalposts and netting for professional football grounds as well as many schools, colleges and sporting institutions has won planning permission to install a wind turbine on-site. Sports equipment manufacturer Harrod UK is about to install a 48-metre-high turbine at its Lowestoft site.

Power generated by the 225 kW turbine will be fed directly into the company’s electricity supply and will provide the majority of its on-site power requirements. The project is being managed by TNEI Services, which specializes in on-site wind projects in the UK. The company anticipates that the turbine will be installed by early 2007.

Harrod’s chief executive, Chris Harrod, said: ‘Wind turbines provide the most feasible option for establishing an effective renewable energy source on our site and will reduce our energy costs, helping the company maintain its competitive market position.’

TNEI’s Sophie Groth Larsen explained: ‘It was agreed with local council that assessments into noise, visual impact and ornithology were required in the submission of the planning application. The visual impact of the scheme is limited due to the height of the turbine and its location within the existing industrial setting of the site.’

SAN DIEGO BORROWS THE PRICE OF PV AT FIVE LOCATIONS

California’s Energy Commission has approved a US$2.2 million state loan to allow the City of San Diego to generate electricity with new solar panels and improve its energy efficiency.

‘San Diego will use the loan to add photovoltaic solar panels at five locations,’ said Energy Commission Chairman Jackalyne Pfannenstiel. ‘But the City is also planning to invest in energy efficiency, recognizing that it makes little sense to waste the electricity that it generates. That’s why they also plan to upgrade mechanical and lighting systems, improving energy efficiency at over 37 city-owned facilities.’

The energy projects should reduce San Diego’s energy bills by more than $262,000 a year. ‘The City will be able to pay back the Energy Commission’s loan in 8.5 years, just from the energy savings alone, and the savings will continue for years,’ added Pfannenstiel.

The total loan amount approved by the Energy Commission was $2,226,689, the estimated cost of the entire project. The City will receive approximately $250,000 in rebates from San Diego Gas and Electric for the efficiency portion of the plan; the city also expects to receive approximately $390,000 in rebates from Energy Commission’s renewable programme for the photovoltaic (PV) panels.

The five 30 kW PV systems will be installed at the Mission Valley Library and at four sites in Balboa Park – a theatre; the Palisades Building; the Balboa Park Clubhouse; and the Municipal Gymnasium.

Meanwhile, it is reported that Google Inc. is to begin the installation of 1.6 MW of solar photovoltaic panels at its Mountain View campus, also in California. The project is expected to be the largest solar installation on any corporate site in the US. The company plans to install solar panels on numerous buildings at its ‘Googleplex’ HQ, aiming to generate approximately 30% of its offices’ daily electricity consumption.

Google is partnering with San Rafael-based EI Solutions to plan and implement the project.

MARUBENI AND DG ENERGY AIM TO INVEST IN DG

Japan’s Marubeni Corporation and the US-based DG Energy have announced the formation of a joint venture to own and operate cogeneration and renewable energy schemes throughout North America. The joint venture, DG Investors LLC, is headquartered in San Diego, California, and includes 45 MW of generation located in California, New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania and Oregon.

Hiromichi Mizuno, President & CEO of Marubeni Power International, Inc. in New York City said: ‘This is proof of Marubeni’s commitment to growth in the distributed energy, renewables and cogeneration sectors, particularly during these changing times in the energy arena, and that’s a commitment supported by our goal of investing over $1 billion within the next few years within the US power sector.’

UK MICROGENERATION ‘FACES HUGE OBSTACLES’

Microgeneration – comprising technologies that allow households and other small users to generate their own electricity – is facing huge obstacles, and risks failing to deliver its potential benefits for households, the economy and the environment in the UK, due to a substantial gap between rhetoric and reality. This is the conclusion of a new assessment of the prospects for small-scale wind, solar panels and CHP boilers published in London.

In one of the largest assessments of the prospects for microgeneration conducted to date, a team at three UK universities has looked at all the main factors that will affect uptake. The research team, led by Dr Jim Watson at the Sussex Energy Group, says that fundamental changes are required in three areas:

There is no ‘level playing field’ for investments in microgeneration. While large companies get tax breaks for investing in power plants and energy saving, householders do not. Reforming the rules to give households access to these tax breaks could overcome the financial limitations of current grant funding.

Households that sell their power to the grid should be able to receive fair prices that reflect the real value of their power at different times of day. Fair prices, coupled with tax reforms and ‘smart meters’, could transform the economics of micro-generation and give consumers valuable feedback on their energy use.

Government ministers should live up to the promises made before Britain’s latest Energy Review on energy services. This requires regulatory changes so that power firms provide energy services, including microgeneration and energy efficiency, rather than simply making money by selling more energy.

Dr Jim Watson said: ‘Current policies to support microgeneration are welcome but they are piecemeal and hesitant. Public interest in microgeneration presents an ideal opportunity for more fundamental changes to energy policy that take individual actions seriously. Action across the board by government agencies such as the Treasury and the energy regulator Ofgem would send a powerful signal that matches the political rhetoric.’

The recent hype around microgeneration has amazed the researchers, who have been looking at the technology for two years with funding from the Economic and Social Research Council. They say that many of the technologies involved are in their early stages of commercialization, so potential buyers are naturally sceptical of the claims made for them, and they lack impartial advice and qualified expertise.

The research was carried out by the Sussex Energy Group in collaboration with the University of Southampton and Imperial College London.

UK UNIVERSITY SWITCHES FROM RENEWABLES TO CHP

Britain’s Loughborough University is set to begin generating its own electricity, once construction of a à‚£1.3 million (€1.9 million) CHP plant on campus has been completed by March 2007. The heat it will create will be used to keep the Pilkington Library cool during the summer and to provide heating for the adjacent student accommodation in the winter.

The university has been purchasing 100% of its power from renewable sources for the last five years. Now it plans to go one step further.

A CHP plant is already in use on the Holywell Park area of the campus. This was purchased along with the site in 2003 and is used to generate electricity for this section of the University.

NO CAPITAL COST CHP SYSTEM FOR UK HOSPITAL

A UK hospital is benefiting from the outputs of a new CHP system

provided at no capital cost. Built under a 30-year Private Finance Initiative (PFI) backed energy services contract with Dalkia, the scheme has provided investment of à‚£5.3 million (€7.9 million) in the new plant at the Ormskirk District and General Hospital Trust. The agreement also includes operation and maintenance.

Ormskirk Hospital is a 174-bed general hospital in the town of Ormskirk, West Lancashire. The Trust sought this investment as the previous steam-raising boiler plant was at the end of its operational life and was not able to meet the future energy demands of the hospital. By using funding through the PFI scheme the Trust was able to focus their capital budget on patient care and gain exemption from the Government’s climate change levy through the use of CHP.

To provide heating, hot water and electricity, the existing boilerhouse has been replaced by a new facility situated on a different part of the hospital site. The new energy centre houses a gas-fired, 1 MW CHP unit coupled to a waste heat boiler and two new gas-fired boilers to provide hot water. Other changes include a new control system and standby generators.

Dalkia will provide 24-hour operation and maintenance of the system for the next 30 years.

236 MW CHP PLANT FOR CANADIAN NEWSPRINT MILL

Thorold Co-Gen LP, a subsidiary of Canadian Northland Power Inc. is, has signed a long-term contract with the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) to supply electricity to consumers in the province from a new, 236 MWe CHP plant to be built at the Abitibi-Consolidated Company of Canada recycled newsprint mill in Thorold, Ontario.

Construction of the facility is scheduled to begin in the first quarter of 2007, following the completion of all permitting and financing, and full commercial operation and supply of electricity is expected to commence June 2009.

The plant will be a gas-fired cogeneration facility, comprising a 170 MW industrial gas turbine and associated 95 MW steam turbine. Electricity produced will be exported to the OPA. In addition, the plant will provide electricity and up to 350,000 lbs (159,000 kg) per hour of steam to the Abitibi-Consolidated mill, for use in its newsprint manufacturing process. The high efficiency of the new plant, which will replace Abitibi-Consolidated’s ageing steam boilers, will reduce the mill’s production costs to allow it to improve its competitiveness in the market, and help reduce emissions.

John Brace, CEO and President of Northland Power, said: ‘The new facility will efficiently and cleanly produce electricity for Ontario and steam for an important industry in the Niagara region. We are also pleased with the leadership shown by the OPA and the Ontario government in working with private power producers to address Ontario’s continuing energy needs.’

The project will be financed by Northland Power Inc., The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company, Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada, Bank of Montreal, and Northland Power Income Fund.

HITACHI POWER TO BUILD 440 MW CHP PLANT IN SWEDEN

E.ON Sverige has placed an order for an exceptionally efficient, 440 MWe gas-fired cogeneration plant to be built by Hitachi Power Europe GmbH (HPE) and GE Energy consortium, with HPE as the consortium leader, in Malmàƒ¶, Sweden. The order is valued at around €220 million.

The plant will also supply 250 MW of heat. Under combined operations, 89% of the gas energy will be utilized, says HPE – an absolute peak figure in the world. The new plant will displace old, coal-fired plants in Scandinavia, reducing carbon dioxide emissions by around 1 million tonnes a year. The electricity will be fed into the Scandinavian grid; the heat will be used on the industrial site and also supplied to the Malmàƒ¶ district heating grid.

HPE plans to have completed building the plant in just over two years from contract signing, with handover planned for the beginning of 2009.

HPE is responsible for plant construction and commissioning and most of its work is in the planning of the turnkey plant, which is to be integrated into an existing building in an industrial and power plant site. GE Energy will be contributing one of the most up-to-date and efficient gas turbines, a 9FB.

Following handover, around 3 TWh of electricity and 1 TWh of heat will be supplied to the grids every year.

MICRO-CHP UNIT WILL ADAPT TO BUILDING LOADS

The Danish manufacturer of micro-CHP systems, EC Power, has launched a new addition to its range of packaged units that, with increased reliability, has a service life 40% longer than its previous model. The company has developed a unit that utilizes a natural-gas-powered reciprocating engine from Toyota.

With a maximum electrical output of 13 kW, the system will modulate energy production down as low as 4 kW to follow demand. In addition to this, up to 29 kW of heat can be recovered for use in heating and domestic hot water applications.

Completely automated, the units are delivered with heat storage tanks, hydraulic controls and a highly advanced computer control system that will adapt itself to the requirements of the building and consumers, says the company.

This adaptive control system learns about the heating and electrical demand profile of the building and modulates its output accordingly.

The system can also be programmed to meet specific operating demands of the site. For example, it could be asked to only produce electricity when the cost of importing from the grid is at its highest, export surplus electricity to the grid when most economical and store heat when not required.

UK SUPPORT FOR ON-SITE RENEWABLES FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENT

The UK Carbon Trust has unveiled plans to develop on-site renewable energy projects with local authorities, health trusts and other public sector bodies. Its new venture, Partnerships for Renewables (PfR), will partner with private sector organizations to develop, build and operate wind and other renewable energy projects on public sector land.

The launch was given a boost by David Miliband, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, who announced à‚£10 million (€15 million) of support to the venture. This will pave the way for PfR to catalyse the expansion of the public sector renewables market by supporting early-stage project development and enable PfR to leverage a further à‚£500 million (€750 million) of investment into the sector.

PfR plans to develop 500 MW of renewable projects (primarily 3-5 MW wind projects), and in the process open up and accelerate a market that PfR estimates to be many times greater. The venture’s target of 500 MW would on its own increase the current amount of distributed renewable power by more than 10%.

Miliband said: ‘The Carbon Trust has shown how plans for renewable installations, mainly wind power, on the land of local authorities and hospitals can be held back because public and private investment are not working together. Our investment of à‚£10 million (€15 million) has the potential to unlock up to half a billion pounds in private investment and produce 500 MW of renewable electricity for public sector organizations to use themselves or to deliver to homes and businesses around the country.’

Tom Delay, Chief Executive of Carbon Trust said: ‘The PfR company will open up and fast-track the development of a new market for renewable power and will be further proof that there are business solutions to climate change. Our plans for PfR are ambitious; in five years by working with local authorities and other public sector bodies we aim to have up to 500 MW of new renewable projects built or under development.’

The public sector is currently responsible for around 5% of the UK’s total carbon emissions. In the face of rising energy costs many organizations are already beginning to investigate how they can utilize their resources to generate renewable energy and at the same time fight climate change, says the Trust. Furthermore, the public sector is increasingly recognized as having a leading contribution to make in the UK’s move towards low-carbon energy. However, despite a strong desire from the public sector to utilize their resources for developing renewable energy, to date such projects on their estates make up less than 0.1% of the UK’s current total renewable capacity.

PfR’s early market testing with public sector bodies has shown a real demand for a partner who can work with them to break down the barriers that have so far inhibited the development of this sector.

POWER PLANT TO USE WASTE GASES FROM STEEL PROCESS

ALSTOM has won a contract worth over €300 million from CyCoFos, a subsidiary of Gaz de France, to supply two turnkey power plants in Fos-sur-Mer, near Marseilles, in southern France.

One plant will be a turnkey 65 MW steam plant which will burn waste gas from a steel plant owned by Sollac, a subsidiary of steel group Arcelor, and convert it into electricity. The gas used will be blast furnace gas, which is currently being burned away. The plant’s key components include a conventional boiler, air-cooled turbogenerator, instrumentation and control systems.

The other plant will be a 425 MW turnkey gas-fired combined-cycle plant, one of the largest of its kind in France. It will provide CyCoFos with efficient power production capacity and supply electricity for the local network.

Both plants are scheduled to come into commercial operation by the end of October 2008.


CORRECTION

‘Defined by the heat balance – HRSG design is crucial to overall efficiency’, published in the May-June 06 issue of COSPP.

COSPP regrets that an important source was not acknowledged when this article was published. Our apologies and thanks go to Fred Starr. His paper: ‘Background to the design of HRSG systems and implications for CCGT plant cycling’, published by ETD Ltd in OMMI, can be seen at www.omni.co.uk/PDF/Articles/65.pdf

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