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Onsite Energy Generation November 23, 2008

Posted by OldGuy in Alternatives.
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Should your company generate at least a portion of its own energy needs?  Ryan Schuchard thinks so.

In an article for ClimateBiz.com, he looks past the recent drop in oil prices to the likelihood that prices will rebound in the next decade, and now is a great time to make the investments, when demand for the equipment is down.

In some regions, the cost of generating onsite renewable energy is already beating electricity bought from the grid. This “grid parity” is currently happening in places like California, Hawaii and Japan, where electricity costs are high and renewable resources are abundant. By 2012, Australia and Italy will likely achieve grid parity, and by 2015 much more of the United States will as well.

The costs can be covered in part with “Feed-in tariffs,” which require utilities to connect small, onsite renewable projects to the grid and pay their generators for surplus energy generated.  There are options for funding in the carbon markets for carbon-offset projects.

Partnerships are also a good option to consider.  A company could help fund generation devices on a partner’s facility and share the results, with excess returning to the grid.

I’ve heard of projects where the waste heat from manufacturing (in that case, a brewery) is used to drive steam turbines to generate electricity and then provide supplemental heating for an adjoining company.

Schuchard also mentions the value being able to stablize your operating costs by generating your own power.  “Investing in onsite renewable energy generation can insulate your company from the shocks, scarcity, and rising prices of energy.”

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