Distributed Energy: Disconnecting From the Grid

In addition to slashing electricity bills big time, distributed energy opens up new opportunities for managing future electricity use and demand by disconnecting from the electric power grid. Such systems, developed by Brooklyn Utility Management Inc. in New York, NY, provide examples of how this approach can offer businesses affordable ways to reduce electricity costs while improving reliability of electrical power.

"Businesses ranging from metal-finishing operations to hotels and grocery stores are using these systems to achieve much higher levels of electrical-power efficiency while producing eco-friendlier electricity with contained thermal and steam to power the processes," says Marty Borruso, company president. These systems use all of the heat produced. Even the radiant heat from the engine surface is regenerated into the process."

He sees a bright future for these cogen system in the New York City area. In fact, he's been working on merging his company within a public entity-the Vision Energy Group of companies. "Developing these systems has been a financial burden for a self-funded, small private company like ours," Borruso says. "The merger offers solid growth and future financial stability to finance the large number of systems projected in the next few years. In announcing the pending acquisition, Russell Smith, chairman and CEO of Vision Energy Group, suggested that the growth and value brought to the shareholders will help drive the success of the venture."

Hempstead Cuts Costs With Reduced Gas Rate

Like all municipalities, Hempstead, Long Island, is always looking for ways to save money without reducing services. Brooklyn Union helped the town identify such an opportunity.

For years, Hempstead has pumped its water from aquifers via 29 electric-powered pumping stations, using diesel engines as backups. In March 1999, to see if they could save money, the town relegated the electric-powered motors to backup status in two of their Uniondale pumping stations. For primary pumping, they decided to "super-charge" their diesel engines, converting them into bi-fuel units operation simultaneously on 60% natural gas and 40% diesel fuel.

By December 1999, it was clear that the bi-fuel equipment was a success. "We're very satisfied with the results," said Richard Guardino, Hempstead's Town Supervisor. "The two bi-fuel units really got a workout this pas summer, which was exceptionally hot and dry, and they performed flawlessly. Our maintenance people are very happy with them."

Even better, the new bi-fuel equipment, combined with Brooklyn Union's newly-reduced gas rate for Distributed Generation (Rate SC-15), reaps substantial savings for the town. A Brooklyn Union engineering analysis determined that each of the bi-fuel units saves the town $14,000 per year in operating costs, compared to electricity-driven pumps.

Building on their success, Hempstead installed two more bi-fuel units in December, and has decided to install an additional two units this year. when all six bi-fuel units are installed, Hempstead expects to save approximately $84,000 per year on operating costs.

Co-Generation in a Deregulating World

By: Frank Campi - Industry Consultant, Energy Manager Magazine

Co-generation, or as it is now being called CHP (combined heat and power), has been an option for industrial energy users for more than 30 years. The co-generation concept has gone in and out of favor in the past four decades as energy managers have searched for ways to reduce their operating costs. The ability to use energy twice for heat and power is appealing, but the incentives to do so have varied with the times.

In the past, natural gas companies have driven the move toward co-generation as they tried to balance their annual loads and reduce the swing from high winter demand to minimal summer requirements. Generally, the push to co-generation is an attempt by the energy manager to "normalize" his cost forecast for energy. Currently, the greatest threats to this cost stability are the unknowns revolving around the deregulation of the electric power industry and wide swings in the hourly electrical energy costs as electric generation, transmission and distribution system constraints kick in. This is typically a seasonal phenomenon with the prices moving up with extreme weather conditions-both hot and cold-when electric power demand rises.

Download PDF: Cogen Produces Big Savings for Metal Finishing Operation

Download PDF: Biodiesal is Making Distributed Energy Green

Download PDF: Disconnecting from the Grid Generates Big Savings and a Quick Payback