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Publication Title | DISTRIBUTED GENERATION AND EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES

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OCTOBER 2012

TECHNOLOGY

DISTRIBUTED GENERATION AND EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES

Discussion Questions:

1. What infrastructure upgrades are required to support additional natural gas usage in the residential and commercial sector?

2. What are the key barriers to overcome in order to increase the adoption of distributed generation in the residential and commercial sector?

3. What siting requirements and processes will be required for fuel cells and microturbines?

4. What financing options are available for distributed generation?

HIGHLIGHTS

• Greenhouse gases from the electric power sector can be reduced through more efficient electric generation technologies and by increasing the quantity of distributed generation, which is the generation of electricity at or near to where it will be consumed.

• In 2010, 67.7 percent of the primary energy produced, primarily at centralized electricity power stations, for the residential and commercial building sector was lost during generation and transmission. The majority of the energy loss occurs during the conversion of a fuel into electricity and is in the form of heat loss. Electricity is also lost during transmission and distribution; and on average about 7 percent of the electricity generated in the United States is lost during transmission.

• Increased direct use of natural gas in commercial and residential space heating and cooling, water

heating, cooking as well as wet (clothes) cleaning

could replace less efficient electricity end use.

• Increased use of higher efficiency distributed

generation technology (e.g., natural gas-fueled solid- oxide fuel cells and microturbines) by residential and commercial end-users would result in less primary energy demand and fewer greenhouse gases emissions.

• High upfront capital costs are likely to discourage investment in new generation technologies, especially at a time when low natural gas prices are putting downward pressure on energy bills. Several states, however, provide financial incentives for residential and commercial consumers who install distributed generation systems, and the federal Investment Tax Credit helps to defray capital costs for commercial entities, 30 percent of the cost or up to $3,000/kW.1

This is a joint project between the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions and the University of Texas Energy Management and Innovation Center

Center for Climate and Energy Solutions

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