“I don’t get no respect, not even from my dog. His favorite bone is in my arm.”
Rodney Dangerfield

The US comedian Rodney Dangerfield was well known for his countless tales and punch-lines about the lack of respect he was afforded. By positioning himself as the perennial underdog he, in fact, became a huge favorite and ultimately earned the respect of millions, with signature pieces of his act even winding up in the Smithsonian Museum.

Decentralized energy (DE) can also be viewed as the underdog, getting little respect from the traditional central station generating market. However, there are signs that this is changing and WADE and DE are gaining respect from the global organizations that matter. These include developments in the UK with the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (DBERR) – formerly the Department for Trade and Industry – the G8, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) (generally recognized as the leading global organization on climate change) and with our friends at COSPP and PennWell.

The recent Energy White Paper issued by DBERR featured an entire chapter on heat and distributed generation. According to the report, ‘it is increasingly clear that technological developments are opening up the possibility of a more decentralised low carbon energy system, with local energy supply, ranging from household to community-scale, which could play an important part in our strategy.’ As indicated in the report, DBERR worked with WADE in preparation of the White Paper by employing the WADE Model to examine the costs and benefits that the UK could realize by moving toward greater deployment of DE over the next 20 years. The fact that DBERR chose WADE to support this policy research is a tremendous sign of respect for the WADE Model.

In another landmark development, the recent G8 Summit and Heiligendamm report resulted in recognition that CHP can be a solution to the challenges of energy security and climate change, and called upon the member countries to, ‘adopt instruments and measures to significantly increase the share of combined heat and power (CHP) in the generation of electricity’. When the leaders of the free world get together and can actually agree on something it is significant as every word of these joint reports is carefully crafted and negotiated. While this is a first step by the G8, we will need to continue to push for more concrete action in future reports and meetings.

Finally, the IPCC recently issued a report that included sections on cogeneration and DE. ‘Grid connected DES (decentralized energy systems) are already commercial in both densely populated urban markets requiring supply reliability and peak shedding, as well as in the form of mini-grids in rural markets with high grid connection costs and abundant renewable energy resources.’ Again, WADE’s work is cited throughout the relevant sections.

WADE is also particularly pleased to expand its partnership with COSPP and PennWell to serve as the official supporting association of DE and on-site power at the POWER-GEN events located in Europe and Asia. These developments are proof positive that our message is being heard and understood by those who matter and that multiple forces around the world are moving in the direction of WADE and DE. We may still be the underdog, but the dog is growing.

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David Sweet
Executive Director of WADE and Consulting Editor of COSPP
dsweet@localpower.org