Steve Hodgson Editor, COSPP
What do the Kimberley-Clark Corporation, the Californian city of San Diego, the US Air Force, the Encina Wastewater Authority, hair products manufacturer Zotos International and the City of Ann Arbor in Michigan have in common? They are all located in the US, yes. But what these public and private sector organizations also share is their use of very significant amounts of electrical power generated from on-site renewable sources. That’s not bought-in green electricity generated in remote large-scale facilities and transmitted to site over the power grid; but power generated and used at the point of use.
Between them, the organizations make use of local biomass and biogas resources, small-scale hydro-electric and solar photovoltaic technology, and local wind turbines which feed their output directly to the host organization. The wastewater authority generates nearly two-thirds of its total electricity use from on-site renewables (wastewater treatment plants have a fine supply of renewable fuel, of course) but the hair products manufacturer also manages to source some 60% of its power needs from on-site wind turbines.
Do these organizations know something that the rest of us don’t? That on-site renewables can already play a large role in supplying power to a wide range of organization types? The data is from the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Green Power Partnership – see also the news story on page 9.
CHP/cogeneration is always local, of course, due to constraints on transporting heat any distance. That’s how the efficiency advantage of CHP is released. But, as these examples show, on-site renewables have their place too. And, where biomass and biogas fuels are used in CHP mode, the advantages of renewable resources and high efficiency are combined.
This issue of COSPP includes a feature article on another US wastewater treatment plant, this one in Oregon, that has added solar PV, on-site wind and small-scale hydro power to the more obvious (and highly successful) biogas-powered CHP plant that has operated since 2005 – see page 33. Two more features illustrate how mainstream biomass has become to the CHP/cogeneration sector. The article on page 15 from Metso is about automation at cogeneration plants in Europe, but the examples quoted there are both fuelled by local biomass – a mixture of peat, unusually, and wood fuels. Meanwhile, the US Department of Energy’s Northwest Clean Energy Application Center is busy promoting CHP in north-western US states. Example installations that burn landfill gas, wood waste and biomass by-products of paper manufacturing are described in a feature starting on page 21. I hope to feature the excellent work of some of the other US Clean Energy Application Centers in future issues of the magazine.
Other articles cover the latest developments from one manufacturer, Siemens, in gas turbine design; municipal initiatives around the world for repowering communities, local generation included; and why efforts by the European Union to improve energy efficiency could and should be redoubled by switching some emphasis onto the efficiency of power generation.
Steve Hodgson Editor, COSPP
PS. Please do visit www.cospp.com to see regular news updates on cogeneration and decentralized energy from around the world, together with the current issue of the magazine in full and an archive of articles from previous issues. You can use the same website address to subscribe to the magazine and to sign-up for our monthly COSPP e-newsletter.