DECENTRALISED ENERGY TRENDING IN ALBERTA
June 17th, 2016
ALBERTA ENERGY SUPPLY MIX SHIFT
Alberta has over 16,000 MW (2015) of installed electricity capacity with coal generation representing 6,258 MW (38%) and renewables approximately 17% and the remainder natural gas and waste heat (45%).
With a Government commitment to phase out coal and increase renewables to 30% by 2030, there has been a substantial surge in renewables generation applications.
Alberta has excellent decentralised renewable energy project opportunities and the technology is readily available, hence, DEC anticipates that the province will exceed the 30% renewable target. On June 9, 2016, there were 83 projects totalling 11,857 MW of generation on the AESO project list. More than half of these have been added to the list since 2015 and wind and solar PV represent 55% of the total nameplate generating capacity (i.e., 6,561 MW).
With this increase in smaller energy projects, Alberta’s decentralised energy industry is entering its next phase of growth.
AB ELECTRICITY CUSTOMER OVERVIEW
Decentralised energy for Industrial energy customers can provide quick wins for the renewable target. In fact, Suncor has three 80 MW solar project applications on the AESO generation list and all are co-located with Suncor’s industrial operations. Municipal buildings, Universities, Schools and Hospitals (MUSH) are strong targets for commercial customers with gas/biogas CHP being very attractive options for these types of loads. With respect to residential customers, new community development or community expansions are increasingly looking at district energy and solar coops to meet energy needs.
WHAT IS DECENTRALISED ENERGY ?
A District Energy System (DES) is a system designed to supply thermal energy (and possibly electricity) to multiple buildings from a central plant or from several interconnected but distributed plants.
COMBINED HEAT AND POWER/COGENERATION
The simultaneous production of electrical and thermal energy from one fuel source (gas, biogas, hydrogen etc.). The waste heat from electricity generation is recovered and used for applications such as space heating and cooling, water heating, and industrial process heat.
Solar photovoltaic (PV) systems directly convert solar energy into electricity. Concentrating solar power (CSP) devices concentrate energy from the sun’s rays to heat a receiver to high temperatures. This heat is then transformed into electricity – solar thermal electricity (STE). A variety of technologies also exist to capture solar radiation and convert it into heating or cooling.
Geothermal energy is a large scale direct use of hot water derived from the earth.
GeoExchange is the use of the ground's heating and cooling properties to heat or cool buildings using standard pump and compressor technology.
Landfills are a substantial source of methane emissions. Waste can be converted to energy using a variety of technologies but digestion of waste to produce biogas is rapidly becoming a preferred waste to energy process. Biogas is a renewable source of methane gas, created when organic matter breaks down in an oxygen-free environment. This biological process is referred to as 'anaerobic digestion'("AD").
See City of Saint-Hyacinthe Biomethanation Project
in Quebec. Common feedstock streams for biogas are:
On average, 31% of Alberta's MSW is organic (table scraps, leaf and yard waste, disposable diapers and sanitary products, pet feces, screenings from sewage treatment plants, etc.) and 34 % is paper. Alberta produces >15 million tonnes of organic waste per year, the equivalent of approximately 300 million m3 of biogas annually which could supply enough energy to meet 20% of Alberta's residential customers.
MICRO -NUCLEAR ENERGY
Molten Salt Reactors ("MsRs") are nuclear reactors that use a fluid fuel in the form of a molten fluoride or chloride salt. As an MSR fuel salt is a liquid, it functions as both the fuel (producing the heat) and the coolant (transporting the heat away and ultimately to the power plant).
TWO SIMPLE, NON-FINANCIAL INCENTIVES THAT WOULD ACCELERATE OUR TRANSITION TO A LOW CARBON ENERGY ECONOMY
There are two simple, non-financial incentives that the government of Alberta could offer to help small scale and community energy systems come to life faster and mitigate against risks:
- greater communication about project opportunities and AB's showcase decentralised energy projects
- locational value maps and grid access tools - project developers need locational value maps and grid access tools to help evaluate project opportunities
Hawaiian Electric Company provides Locational Value Maps such as below & Address Search Tools to show project developers the level of distributed generation penetration on distribution circuits making it easier to assess grid access capabilities for a project.
DEC members and industry stakeholders are experiencing unprecedented business growth but there's lots of work needed to help mitigate against the risks of rapid industry growth. Industry and government need to work together now more than ever.
For more information go to: http://www.deassociation.ca