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Distributed Generation: Competitive Threat or Opportunity?

Fortnightly Magazine - August 1996

likely predominate through the 1990s. As utilities and ESCos seek to offer differentiated services, distributed generation will play an important role in a portfolio of new services to the small industrial/commercial sectors. Technological advances and cost reductions in fuel cells, solar photovoltaic, microturbines, Stirling engines, and later-emerging technologies like flywheels will create new markets and new energy service business opportunities. As a business strategy, distributed generation offers an asset-management alternative to adding distribution capacity.

Just as distributed personal computing revolutionized business processes and enhanced productivity, distributed generation resources can be applied to improve the delivery of electricity to the end user. t

George Preston, vice president for generation at the Electric Power Research Institute, is responsible for leading all of EPRI's nonnuclear power generation technology collaborative programs, including central station fossil, advanced fossil and hydro plants, renewables, and distributed power supply. Dan Rastler manages EPRI's distributed generation technology research. He has conducted over 20 site-specific client studies of market applicability and the technical and economic feasibility of distributed generation. He is responsible for management and delivery of a variety of EPRI distributed power programs, including state-of-the-art technology assessments; information and software evaluation tools; field testing,

demonstration and applications;

and joint venture R&D investment opportunities.

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