WADE Presents at the First Australian Summer Study on Energy Efficiency & Decentralized Energy

Sydney, Australia: Delivered by the Australian Alliance to Save Energy and supported by WADE, along with the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, the inaugural Australian Summer Study on Energy Efficiency and Decentralized Energy was held from 29 February to 2 March.

David Sweet, executive director of WADE, in his keynote presentation discussed the key benefits of DE and the Smart Grid. Sweet also discussed the market and policy barriers to increase deployment of DE.

With the introduction of the federal government’s ‘Clean Energy Future’ package, there has never been a more significant time to convene an international forum on energy efficiency in Australia. The Summer Study played a critical role in bringing together decision makers at a time of great change in an informal and non-confrontational atmosphere to find new solutions to the challenges facing the power sector.

The Summer Study programme is an international institution, which has run for 30 years in the United States and for 16 years in Europe, organized by endorsers and supporters of the event – the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) and its European counterpart the ECEEE.

Participants networking at the Australian Summer Study event

WADE Keynotes Solar Biz Asia Conference

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: Sridhar Samudrala was the keynote speaker at the SolarBiz Asia organized by Marcus Evans Conferences in KL on 19–20 March. The conference was attended by more than 50 professionals from the solar industry seeking to increase the usage of the new efficient panels available in the market. The conference provided insights into the different funding opportunities, including finance from country projects, along with a comparative analysis of barriers for solar power generation.

Sridhar Samudrala, director, WADE Asia, with Nikolina Pazanin, executive manager, and Sonya Fernandez, REEEP executive


David Sweet Named Advisor to United States Energy Security Council

USA: David Sweet, executive director, WADE, has been named as an advisor to the United States Energy Security Council. The Council is the highest-level group ever assembled to address the energy challenge. It includes former Secretaries of Defense, State, Interior, Transportation, Homeland Security, Agriculture, Navy and Air Force, a former Chairman of the Fed, three former National Security Advisors, Directors of Central Intelligence and National Reconnaissance Office, US Senators, flag officers, CEOs and a Nobel Laureate.

The goal of the Council is to advocate policies designed to ensure that new cars sold in the US will be open to fuel competition, and that non-petroleum fuels, whether liquids, natural gas or electricity, can compete against oil in a free market environment.

Additional information about the council is available at: www.usesc.org/energy_securityWADE Canada will soon be announcing an exciting project with a major Western Canada utility. The utility will examine the technical and economic feasibility of pursuing district energy projects to supply heat to commercial, industrial and residential customers.


WADE Canada Partners with Western Canada Utility

WADE Canada – under its Innovation to Commercialization Programme (I2CP) – is providing technical risk services, financing strategy development and partner integration to a major utility in Western Canada, as the utility examines the technical and economic feasibility of pursuing district energy projects to supply heat to commercial, industrial and residential customers.

WADE Canada is also adding value by leveraging its networks and expertise to identify and link in additional project and partnering opportunities.

An extensive portfolio of projects, totalling a potential development sum of more than $700 million is now being evaluated, and is expected to result in a stream of development opportunities that could span several decades.

For more information about these developments, please e-mail Kevin Frankowski, vice-president of WADE Canada, at: kfrankowski@wadecanada.ca

Inside the Process Loop: Decentralized Energy and the Oil Sands

By Dave Shillington, Contributor, WADE Canada

Decentralized energy (DE) generation offers several benefits to oil sands development. Producing on-site generation at the point of consumption will help increase production efficiency, lower operating costs and reduce emission intensities. Using DE at Alberta’s oil sands is essential to creating a sustainable economy that can keep up with the rising global demand for oil while leaving minimal impact on the environment.

Global demand for oil is steadily increasing. And although recent market shifts have slowed this rise, the International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that demand for oil will increase by 60% from 2000 to 2030. In his article Cogeneration and the Alberta Oil Sands, Jeremy Moorhouse writes that ‘unconventional oil supplies such as heavy oil and bitumen resources’ will play a major role in satisfying the global demand. According to the United States Geographical Survey (USGS), the province of Alberta holds about 80% of the world’s bitumen deposits and in 2009 produced 1.5 million barrels per day. In order to bridge the global demand gap, oil sands production must be increased at a more efficient rate.

Natural gas cogeneration, as DE, has already played a pivotal role in increasing production efficiency. Rapidly adopted in 1999 due to Alberta’s deregulation of the power industry, producers were able to switch from centralized coal-fired thermal generation to natural gas-fired cogeneration. Moorhouse refers to a 1996 report published by Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) which examined all energy resources and demands from 1996 through 2020. The report forecasted oil sands production growth at a modest rate. But deregulation of the power industry and rapid implementation of cogeneration led oil sands production to rise by over 100% from the NRCan estimates.

But electricity is still being purchased from the provincial power grid at the oil sands, even though cogeneration is used for many operations. Coal-generated power is not only carbon intensive but can come at a high cost for producers. In Pat Roche’s article Get off the Grid, consulting engineers Marc Godin and Bruce Peachey argue that a simple approach to on-site power generation would reduce power costs – which, as Roche writes, can account for 40–50% of operating expenses for mature oil field operations.

Several factors figure in this potential cost reduction. Mainly, the price of natural gas is relatively low. Gas transportation and power transmission costs are also significantly reduced. A further benefit is that gas consumed for production is royalty free.

In 2010, Calgary-based producer Paramount Energy Trust budgeted for two pilot projects that use on-site power to help replace $20,000 a year in power purchases. These projects not only eliminate reliance on the grid, but are designed to produce enough electricity for Paramount to sell. If all goes well, Paramount is prepared to introduce the concept at more than 20 additional sites.

Decentralized energy in the oil sands industry also cuts emissions while increasing production and lowering costs. Moorhouse’s research finds that greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from oil sands production dropped from levels under coal-fired power by 7 MtCO2e per year in 1996 –2006, while oil sands production rose 100%.

It is estimated that 80% of decreased GHG emissions ‘resulted from the conversion from carbon-intensive coal generation electricity to natural gas electricity.’ The remaining 20% was a ‘direct result from increased efficiency through on-site cogeneration.’ Roche also argues a switch to gas-fired power could delay the need for another coal-fired plant, eliminating the GHG emissions it would bring.

Moorhouse, Roche, Godin and Peachey have outlined prime examples of why DE concepts such as cogeneration and on-site power enable producers to cut emission intensities while increasing production and reducing operating costs. Paramount Energy Trust could also generate revenue by producing on-site power to sell to the provincial grid.

Other emerging DE technologies should also be looked at for oil sands development. Small modular reactors, geopower and electro-thermal extraction technology are a few that could deliver additional benefits. It is clear more can be done to secure a cleaner and more efficient oil sands operation. The challenge remains, however, to get producers and government to become more active in promoting DE in the oil sands.

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