How Distributed Energy Positively Impacts the Energy Landscape
Every industry depends on energy to be accessible, reliable, and affordable. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, U.S. energy consumption and production reached record highs in 2018. Higher energy demands present the need for modern solutions for efficient, reliable generation and distribution. Here is a close look at distributed generation (also known as on-site generation), one of the efforts being put into place to address the needs of customers.
What is Distributed Energy Generation?
To put it simply, distributed generation is electricity that is generated at or near the location where it will be used. It contrasts with the traditional model of centralized generation transported to customers through the transmission and distribution grid. Distributed generation opportunities come in a variety of sizes. Many energy consumer locations are candidates for distributed generation including:
- Residential buildings
- Commercial buildings
- College campuses
- Military bases
- Large industrial facilities
- Oil fields
It’s also important to know that distributed generation can be accomplished through a dedicated single-site generation resource or a microgrid that helps support customers within a limited distribution area.
Distributed generation can help customers save money, enhance reliability, and, depending on the technology, create environmental benefits.
How is the U.S. Using Distributed Generation?
According to the EPA, the United States currently benefits from distributed generation in the residential, commercial, and industrial sectors. Our country has over 12 million distributed generation units and supplies energy to users by means of:
- Natural gas fuel cells
- Solar photovoltaic panels
- Wind turbines
- Combustion engines, including backup generators
What are the Benefits of Distributed Energy Generation?
According to the EPA, distributed generation units currently in use generate around ⅙ of the capacity of the nation’s existing centralized power plants. Although the use of distributed generation is still on the rise, we feel it will continue to increase as the economics behind this approach continue to become more attractive.
· Reliable & Efficient Energy
Any experienced energy advisor will tell you that distributed generation not only presents a reliable source of power but also offers efficiency advantages. With distributed generation, your business no longer has to rely exclusively on external providers to keep the lights on during high-cost peak usage times or power outages.
Because distributed generation is located close to where the electricity is actually used, it minimizes efficiency losses that occur when energy is sent over miles of power lines.
· Reduced Delivery Costs
Electricity delivery costs are a major component in energy bills for commercial and industrial customers. These costs are governed by utility tariffs and are largely based on the customer’s peak electricity demand. Distributed generation gives customers the ability to manage their electricity delivery cost by reducing their reliance on the power grid.
· Environmental Impact
Distributed energy generation can come from many sources including photovoltaic systems, wind systems, fuel cells and microturbines. Some of these sources have a lower environmental footprint compared to traditional power generation sources.
Are There Any Downsides?
As with all solutions, there are pros and cons. There are a few negatives that come with installing distributed generation resources. Some things to consider:
- The generation structures require sufficient space to accommodate their footprint.
- Special permitting may be required for emissions or land-use concerns.
Take the Leap into Distributed Energy Generation with Priority Power Management
If your business is ready to control its energy supply, Priority Power Management has the experience to help. Our experts can help your team discover where they can save and come up with a plan of action that fits your budget. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.
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