Clean energy generating Combined Heat and Power (CHP) units — or co-generation systems — produce electricity using the generator engine, converted diesel, to turn a standard generator. The exhaust from the engine is used to make hot water or hot air by putting a heat recovery unit on the engine’s exhaust pipe.
Another method is to use fuel to heat a boiler that makes steam which makes a steam turbine run. Turbine-based systems can use anything from coal to biomass as fuel.
Today, CHP generation ranging from micro- to large-scale multi-megawatt power sources is emerging. Most are transportable or built into shipping containers. Unlike solar and wind generators, their systems can make a lot more power with less real estate and run 24 hours a day, seven days a week every day of the year.
CHP generation requires less fuel to produce a given output, and avoids transmission and distribution losses that occur when electricity travels over power lines. By residing on a customer site, these generation systems also avoid costly power transmission costs. Because less fuel is burned to produce each unit of energy output, CHP reduces air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. The fuels used are usually sustainable ones such as natural gas or biomass which exhaust has lower emission pollutants than fossil fuels.
In summary, CHP technology is both proven and very reliable. The heat produced during power generation is recovered, usually in a heat recovery boiler, and can be used to raise steam, to provide hot water for space heating and other uses, and, increasingly, for cooling.
Because CHP systems make extensive use of the heat produced during electricity generation, they can achieve overall efficiencies in excess of 80% at the point of use. The efficiency of a conventional coal-fired power station, which discards a significant amount of heat to atmosphere, is typically about 38% at the power station. Efficiency at the point of use is lower still because of the losses that occur during transmission and distribution.
The benefits of CHP – A proven and reliable technology:
- Substantial financial benefits.
- Environmental benefits through emissions reduction per unit of energy produced.
- Improvements in security of site energy supplies.
Diminishing fossil fuel reserves and a growing regional and global demand for energy means that the world’s leading oil producer, Saudi Arabia has started to plan it’s move from oil into renewable energy; specifically solar and nuclear energy.
According to the Citigroup report published in September 2012, Saudi Arabia will run out of crude for export by 2030 and in 2011 the Kingdom announced it planned to generate solar energy at the same capacity as its current oil production.
The Saudi Kingdom also signed a nuclear cooperation agreement in January 2012 with China to build 16 nuclear reactors by 2031 at a cost of about $100 billion and plan to produce 20% of its electricity needs through nuclear energy.
The UAE is also looking to lead the Middle East in sustainable energy development. The CEO of Dewa, the main sponsors of this year’s Dubai Global Energy Forum (DGEF 2013) to be held next week from April 15 to 17 states;
“Our sponsorship of the energy forum emphasises Dewa’s support for the aspirations of our government in its determination to transition to a green economy and stems from our belief in the need to use clean energy to fuel sustainable development in the emirate and the UAE in general, as well as our resolve to become a truly sustainable globally renowned utilities company,” Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, CEO of Dewa & Vice Chairman of the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy.
The development of renewable energy and its application in inter-Arab investments programs is high on the agenda in the Middle East. Within the Arab League, Morocco leads with a huge number of solar plants being built, with Egypt, Tunisia, and the UAE emerging as the other leaders in the race for alternative energy in the region.
The Middle East’s accessibility to both wind and solar radiation make it an excellent candidate to fulfil its renewable energy goals and diminish, if not completely erase its dependency on fossil fuels. However the region, particularly Saudi Arabia has a severe shortage of skilled specialists and trained scientists, particularly to satisfy the needs of their nuclear program. Consequently they will be very dependent on international consultants, scientists, and experts, looking to work in the region.
Allen & York are specialists across Power & Renewable Energy recruitment; our international recruitment teams have 20 years of experience across the Energy, Environmental and Health & Safety sectors and we are perfectly placed to source global talent from a pool of high calibre international talent. We are based in Dubai, UK & Europe and Australia and have a wealth of experience in sourcing the leading international talent for the solar, wind and nuclear industry.
For more information visit our website; http://www.allen-york.com/MiddleEast
T: +971 4446 9828
Energy resource diversity in the electricity sector is important to any region’s energy portfolio. Having a range of energy options increases grid stability, reduces consumers’ exposure to price spikes in any energy source, and makes policy changes (including a price on carbon) easier to handle. While resource diversity is intuitively valuable, it’s often used as a catchphrase to defend the status quo or argue against renewable portfolio standards at the state level.
In a recent House subcommittee hearing on electricity diversity, Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY) spoke out in favor of a diverse energy mix, but added that “the best way to strike the right balance is through market forces – not government mandates or other market distorting policies.” In this post we’re attempting to add some rigor to the conversation by measuring the electricity generation diversity in each state over the past 20 years.
To measure generation diversity, we used the Herfindahl-Hirschman Index (HHI), which is commonly used to determine market concentration in an industry as well as economic diversity. The HHI measures the extent to which an industry is dominated by a few firms. We chose to use this index because it measures the level of concentration in an industry (or, in this case, the level of concentration in the electricity sector).
The HHI is simply the sum of the square of each market participant’s market share. The resulting value, the HHI, is a fraction between 0 and 1, which represents the competitiveness of an industry. A market with only one participant — who would have 100% market share – has an HHI of 1. As more firms enter the market and each participant’s market share decreases, the HHI goes down, with extremely diverse markets having an HHI near zero. In our case, the HHI represents energy diversity within the electricity sector. We took the percentage of the generation mix from each energy resource (coal, natural gas, wind, solar, hydropower, nuclear, and others) in each state, according to Energy Information Administration data. We then squared each percentage, and added them together, repeating this calculation for every year from 1990 to 2011. If the HHI moves closer to 0 over the years measured, then the energy mix has become less concentrated and more diverse. If the HHI value increases over time and moves closer to 1, then the energy mix has become more concentrated and less diverse.
The table below shows how each state’s generation portfolio diversity has changed from 1990 to 2011 and provides two separate rankings — one based on 2011 energy diversity and one based on the change in energy diversity (found by subtracting the 2011 HHI value from the 1990 HHI value for every state).
The majority of states have seen their diversity increase, although electricity generation is still relatively highly-concentrated among a small number of fuels in most states. In future research, we are going to explore the most important drivers of increasing generation diversity, and the economic benefits of a diverse generation portfolio.
Richard Caperton is the Director of the Clean Energy Investment program at the Center for American Progress.
By Bill Becker (Part 1 can be found here)
With debate over the Keystone XL pipeline heating up, the White House has issued an update of President Obama’s “Blueprint for a Clean and Secure Energy Future“. It is the latest of White House policy pronouncements that leave us wondering whether President Obama will ever uncage his inner revolutionary to fight for genuine energy security.
At this point, it’s anyone’s guess. The blueprint’s content does not live up to the promise of its title. It contains stark contradictions. It sticks to Obama’s all-of-the-above energy strategy – a strategy transparently designed to keep all-of-the-above special interests happy. Because it supports all types of energy — including the fossil fuels responsible for global climate change — it advocates nothing.
Oil Production: The President’s energy blueprint acknowledges that “rising gas prices serve as a reminder that we are still too reliant on oil, which comes at a cost to American families and businesses.” It “urges Congress to take up common-sense proposals that will further reduce our dependence on oil”.
At the same time, it boasts that since President Obama took office, “responsible oil and gas production has increased each year” in the United States. “Under my administration, America is producing more oil today than at any time in the last eight years,” the President said last year. “Over the last three years, I’ve directed my administration to open up millions of acres for gas and oil exploration across 23 different states. We’re opening up more than 75% of our potential oil resources offshore. We’ve quadrupled the number of operating rigs to a record high.”
If we are too dependent on oil, why is the President so bullish on producing more?
Energy Research: At a time the United States is under-investing in renewable energy R&D, the President’s new budget proposes $375 million for research on “cleaner energy from fossil fuels” including “more responsible” natural gas production and more funding for “clean coal” technology and carbon capture and storage.
While some fossil fuels are dirtier than others, none are clean. They all emit greenhouse gases when they are burned. They all involve environmental disruption when they are extracted. The cleanest of the fuels from a carbon standpoint, natural gas, has been accused of contaminating groundwater and leaking so much methane that it could be a bigger contributor to climate change than coal.
Meantime, clean energy is all around us but greatly underused. As others have pointed out, the greatest power plant ever created gives us free energy with no pollution, delivers it everywhere within seconds from 93 million miles away and won’t run out of fuel for 7 billion years. Rather than harvesting energy from the sun, why are we still trying so hard to dig it up from underground?
Corporate Welfare: To his credit, President Obama has urged Congress to repeal billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies for the oil industry. But from the standpoint of an effective market, providing taxpayer money for research on “cleaner energy from fossil fuels” is no better. The coal, gas and oil industries are all grown up now and making pretty good livings. Most other businesses have to do their own R&D to remain relevant in a changing market. Why shouldn’t the fossil industries?
As for natural gas, why should taxpayers foot the bill to help the industry be more responsible? If gas companies don’t adopt more responsible production practices voluntarily, the government’s job is not to write them a check; it’s to implement regulations that protect the public. That’s what EPA is trying to do with the standards it announced last year to control methane and other air pollutants from oil and gas operations.
In the meantime gas companies aren’t showing a lot of interest in responsible production; instead they seem to be fracking and drilling as fast as they can before regulations can take effect.
Making Our Own Drug: The International Energy Agency predicts that fracking and horizontal drilling will make the United States the world’s largest oil producer sometime around 2017, surpassing even Saudi Arabia.
That would be a welcome change from nearly a half-century of dependence on foreign oil. But it also would make us the world’s biggest producer of one of the products most responsible for global climate disruption. Is that the title we want? Or, as the nation responsible for most of the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere today, shouldn’t we set a more moral example as the nation that leads the world to a low-carbon economy?
Shouldn’t we at least have a national energy plan that defines how and when we’ll end our dependence on oil, foreign or domestic- a downramp that signals our commitment to other nations and gives financial markets an incentive to capitalize our transition to clean energy?
Domestic Security: While the advocates of the Keystone pipeline mistakenly claim that it will be good for national security, few have discussed the project’s impacts on homeland security. Oil and gas pipelines are among the most vulnerable parts of America’s infrastructure. Amory and Hunter Lovins warned about this 30 years ago in their book “Brittle Power“:
Federal policies are systematically making the energy system more vulnerable. The devices being promoted as the backbone of America’s energy supply for the 21st Century are precisely the most vulnerable ones: offshore and Arctic oil and gas, big pipelines, and huge power plants (especially nuclear ones) linked by long transmission lines.
Pipelines are even more vulnerable today. Saboteurs and terrorists don’t need to bother with infiltration and dynamite. The investigation that traced computer attacks against American institutions to China earlier this year dramatized how hackers anywhere on the planet can take control of U.S. oil and gas pipelines. One such attack already has occurred against Telvent, which keeps blueprints on more than half the oil and gas pipelines in North and South America.
William Rush is a retired scientist who worked for the Gas Technology Institute and led an effort to create a cyber security standard for the gas pipeline industry. “Anyone can blow up a gas pipeline with dynamite,” he says. “But with this stolen information (about the gas distribution infrastructure), if I wanted to blow up not one, but 1,000 compressor stations, I could. I could put the attack vectors in place, let them sit there for years, and set them all off at the same time. I don’t have to worry about getting people physically in place to do the job, I just pull the trigger with one mouse click.”
During one of his debates with Mitt Romney last fall, President Obama boasted that during his first term, “we’ve added enough new oil and gas pipeline to encircle the Earth and then some.” The Department of Transportation confirmed that nearly 30,000 miles of new pipelines were built during Obama’s first term.
In other words, we’ve moved approximately 30,000 miles farther away from domestic security over the last four years. Does it make sense for the federal government to spend billions of dollars on homeland security while encouraging the oil industry to spend billions more on energy infrastructure that makes us more vulnerable?
Greenhouse Gas Emissions: The good news that U.S. emissions of carbon dioxide have fallen 13% since 2007 is not a license to produce more fossil fuels. While some of that progress can be attributed to the Administration’s new vehicle economy standards, other factors are more fleeting.
Progressive state policies and welcome gains in national energy efficiency deserve significant credit for the decline in U.S. emissions, but conservatives around the country now are attacking those policies. The recession, the slow recovery and high gas prices helped depress emissions, but none of those is a factor we want to sustain. Natural gas prices have been low enough to encourage utilities to switch from coal, but those prices likely will rise with environmental regulations and greater demand.
As New York Times columnist Eduardo Porter puts it, “the United States’ serendipitous success in reducing greenhouse gas emissions suggests how much more needs to be done than switching from a particularly dirty source of carbon to a cleaner one.”
Temporary Sustainability: In its update of the President’s energy blueprint on March 15, the White House said it showed that Obama has “reiterated his commitment to a sustained, all-of-the-above energy strategy.” But how can we have a sustained energy strategy built in large part on finite resources?
None of this criticism should detract from the many good things President Obama has done so far to move us closer to a clean and secure economy. But there is disturbing dissonance and intellectual flim-flam in the Administration’s energy blueprint.
It is intellectually dishonest for the President to be bullish on fossil energy at the same time he promises to fight climate change, or to believe that building more fragile energy infrastructure is compatible with security, or that oil from any source protects us from spikes in gas prices, or that we can sustain a robust and competitive economy with fuels that are finite, environmentally dangerous and increasingly difficult to reach.
As I’ve written before, President Obama is not wrong to consider “all of the above” energy resources for our future. But he, and we, should support only the “best of the above”. We need a national energy blueprint that distinguishes the clean from the dirty, the safe from the dangerous, the stable from the volatile, and the sustainable from the finite. We need a timetable that’s ambitious. As Sam Walton reportedly said in a different context: “Incrementalism is innovation’s worst enemy. We don’t want continuous improvement, we want radical change.”
For better or worse, President Obama’s energy blueprint is a climate blueprint, an economic blueprint and a national security blueprint. It defines America’s future as well as Obama’s long-term legacy. He has a choice: He can be President Pipeline or President Sunshine, but he can’t be both.
Even though he has been liberated from reelection, we are gradually discovering that Barack Obama may not be the revolutionary change agent we so badly need.
– Bill Becker is Executive Director of the Presidential Climate Action Project (PCAP), an initiative of Natural Capitalism Solutions to help the President of the United States take decisive action on global warming and energy security.