Generation and Virginia's Energy Security
defined as generation at or near the end user site, is poised
to become a key element in Virginia's - and the nation's - energy
future. However, how large a piece and exactly what that future
will look like can best be described as a "work in progress".
What is known for sure is that Virginia's future energy needs
are undergoing significant change, with new dynamics. The essential
elements of this change include large localized electrical power
needs; significantly increased power stability, availability and
reliability; increased square foot wattage of facilities; and
the growth of dedicated power systems.
Nationwide, the promise of distributed energy resources has yet
to be fully realized due to a combination of technical, regulatory
and business practice barriers, compounded by uncertainties associated
with nationwide deregulation. A recent DOE study "Making
Connections: Case Studies of Interconnection Barriers and their
Impact on Distributed Power Projects" outlines many of
these barriers, some of which have been shown to block "viable
projects with potential benefits to both the customer and the
In fact, Virginia offers a case in point, as well as a good testing
ground, for many of the issue cited by DOE. In May 2002, the ARI
CIMAP program conducted a workshop addressing policy options for
distributed resources in Virginia that reinforced and expanded
on many of the DOE findings. The technical presentations and findings
from the workshop are presented in detail at the following website:
Along with policy and regulatory issues, knowledge of the economics
of DG technologies is fundamental to assessing their market potential.
A recent study by Arthur
D. Little noted that "DG's economic attractiveness for
customers and utilities and its ability to provide for capacity
in the near term is leading regulators in several states to address
it . . . An understanding of the economics of DG is essential
for policymakers to address these concerns and to arrive at sound
decisions regarding the future of DG."
In order to increase that understanding, the CIMAP staff has developed
summaries of the principal technologies employed in distributed
energy systems. These include: solar photovoltaic; fuel cells;
wind power; microturbines; reciprocating engines; and turbine.