Enabling Grid Integration of Combined Heat and Power Plants
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In a world where calls for climate action grow louder by the day, the role of renewable energy and energy efficient generation sources has become extremely important. One such energy efficient resource that can increase the penetration of renewable energy into the grid is the Combined Heat and Power technology. Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plants produce useful thermal and electrical power output from a single input fuel source and are widely used in the industrial and commercial sectors for reliable on-site power production. However, several unfavorable policies combined with inconsistent regulations have discouraged investments in this technology and reduced participation of such facilities in grid operations. The potential benefits that could be offered by this technology are numerous - improving grid resiliency during emergencies, deferring transmission system updates and reducing toxic emissions, to name a few. With increased share of renewable energy sources in the generation mix, there is a pressing need for reliable base generation that can meet the grid requirements without contributing negatively to the environment. Since CHP units are good candidates to help achieve this two-fold requirement, it is important to understand the present barriers to their deployment and grid involvement. In this thesis work, we explore some of these challenges and propose suitable grid integration technology as well as market participation approaches for better involvement of distributed CHP units in the industrial and commercial sectors.
General Audience Abstract
Combined Heat and Power is a generation technology which uses a single fuel source to produce two useful outputs - electric power and thermal energy - by capturing and reusing the exhaust steam by-product. These generating units have much higher efficiencies than conventional power plants, lower fuel emissions and have been a popular choice among several industries and commercial buildings with a need for uninterrupted heat and power. With increasing calls for climate action and large scale deployment of renewable based energy generation sources, there is a higher need for reliable base-line generation which can handle the fluctuations and uncertainty of such renewables. This need can be met by CHP units owing to their geographic distribution and their high operating duration. CHPs also provide a myriad of other benefits for the grid operators and environmental benefits, compared to the conventional generators. However, unfavorable and inconsistent regulatory procedures have discouraged these facility owners from actively engaging in providing grid services. Therefore, it is imperative to look into some of the existing policies and understand where the changes and incentives need to be made. In this work, we look into methods that can ease CHP integration from a technological and an economic point of view, with the aim of encouraging grid operators and CHP owners to be more active participants.
- Masters Theses