A new report found advances in distributed electric generation, noting a pronounced shift since the early 1990s toward on-site generation, as electronic control systems now allow for remote dispatching, and combustion turbine engines are smaller, more powerful and offer increased energy efficiency.
North American Distributed Generation System Markets, produced by Frost & Sullivan, said that the Clean Air Act of 1972, and subsequent amendments made over the last 25 years, have influenced technologies. Originally, the act was written to regulate emissions of selected atmospheric pollutants. However, since distributed generation is an alternative to coal-steam units, the market could benefit from future emissions controls, and decrease coal's dominant position as a generating fuel.
Natural gas companies are seeking to expand their presence and have targeted the residential heating and general electricity generation markets. "Natural gas providers have targeted the electric utility industry for an invasion," said power generation analyst Anne-Marie Borbely.
A major factor in favor of distributed generation technologies is price. The report finds these technologies have made it less expensive to generate one's own electricity (em as low as 3.5 cents per kWh for Allied Signal's gas TurboGenerator, compared with a purchase price of 5 cents to 15 cents per kWh, depend-ing on region, season and generation technology. (em LB
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