Microgrid – The Burrstone Energy Center
Cogeneration Microgrids are small power generation and distribution systems that utilize a central CHP Plant to serve several buildings. Localized microgrids can be utilized in conjunction with the regional electric utilities.
Microgrids connect a “neighborhood” of client-users that each benefit from the advantages of on-site cogeneration while sharing costs. Having a central energy source averts the need to install individual cogeneration plants in each facility to substantially reduce costs following the principle of “economies of scale”. A central unit is larger, but consumes less fuel than multiple smaller units. It provides electricity, heating, and cooling, in a more economically and environmentally efficient manner.
Cogen has a thorough understanding of utility microgrids and experience in successfully implementation. Although the rewards of a localized, clean energy microgrid are favorable, many factors must be taken into consideration in developing a plan of action.
Factors that impact the feasibility of microgrids include:
- Compatible Goals of Potential Customers Energy Consumption Patterns of Customers
- Physical Locations, Distances, and Land Ownership
- Infrastructure Requirements
- Consensus on Budgets and Timing
- Contracts and Billing
- Federal, State, and Local Codes and Regulations
Although the process of working out these issues can be daunting, the benefits of cogeneration microgrids can make the process more than worthwhile.
Burrstone Energy Center Microgrid
Cogen Power Technologies owns and operates the 3.6 MW cogeneration plant that serves the Burrstone Energy Center Microgrid. The microgrid is a cooperative effort between three neighboring institutions, Faxton St Luke’s Healthcare, St. Luke’s Nursing Home, and Utica College.
In this arrangement, approved by a precedent-setting decision from the Public Service Commission, the hospital utilizes the electric, steam, and hot water produced by the plant; while the college and the nursing home use only the electric. Excess electricity can be sold to the local utility’s power grid to offset operational costs. As owner and operator, Cogen manages the operations, maintenance, and administration of the Microgrid.
The experience gained as a result of this project enables Cogen to factor operational needs into the design phase of cogeneration projects and microgrids. This results in cogeneration systems that are practically and efficiently designed for the host site operations staff to effectively operate and maintain.