Generating off-grid energy for industry – a critique of the UK electricity system

Drax power station [credit: drax.com]

Unpredictable supplies, increasing prices and threats of blackouts are not good news. Even allowing that the author has a related product to sell, the comments about UK electricity policies and their effects should make uncomfortable reading for its residents.

There’s no getting away from the fact that our energy infrastructure in the UK is inadequate, writes Duncan McPherson, CEO of CooperOstlund, at PEI.

The National Grid is dated, inefficient and widely considered unfit for purpose.

Demand – especially in peak times – regularly overtakes supply availability.

What’s more, with a ban now announced on coal power generation and an already-heavy reliance on power supplied from overseas countries, we’re clearly unprepared for what the future will bring.

But the consequences of this could be devastating. Companies are already offered financial incentives to stop working when power is in short supply, and blackouts are a real threat, potentially grinding operations to a halt and irreparably damaging reputation with suppliers and customers alike.

The unpredictability of energy prices can also lead to spiralling facilities management costs, hitting a company’s bottom line hard.

Considerable work is already underway to find an effective solution for the future, but a number of techniques are emerging to support industry in the short-term. From peaking plants and on-site energy generation solutions, to blended energy programmes, off-grid generation is quickly becoming the stop-gap.

Indeed, it’s predicted that decentralised energy will grow 130 per cent 2030, representing 14 per cent of the UK’s total generation capacity. And with this growth comes benefits, with the same study finding that on-site energy generation could help UK businesses save around £33 billion by 2030.

Combined heat and power (CHP) and energy from waste are predicted to deliver the greatest savings of £20bn.

Effectively a mini power station, CHP engines are almost twice as efficient than traditional grid connectivity… and much more secure. By generating both heat and power (in one single process) at the point of consumption, users benefit from lower energy costs compared to sourcing electricity and gas independently from the grid.

Continued here.

via Tallbloke’s Talkshop

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October 28, 2018 at 06:09AM

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