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On-site generation, often called Distributed Energy, refers to a variety of small, modular power-generating technologies to provide electric capacity or energy. The term “distributed” refers to the fact that the system is placed on or near the electricity consumer’s site. This differs from traditional “centralized” systems, which generate electricity at a remotely located, large-scale power plant and then transmit via power lines.
Compared to central-station plants, the benefits of distributed energy stem from the ability to be modular, making it extremely flexible. It can be used to meet base-load power, peaking power, backup power, remote power, power quality, as well as cooling and heating needs. Because on-site generation systems typically rely on natural gas or renewable resources, the generators are usually much quieter and less polluting than large power plants. Distributed energy also has the potential to mitigate congestion in transmission lines, reduce the impact of electricity price fluctuations, strengthen energy security, and provide greater stability to the electricity grid.
Reliability is Key. Companies turn to on-site power generation for a reason: they want reliable, high-quality power to keep their facilities running even if their public power grid suffers a disruption.
The use of on-site generation technologies can lead to improved efficiency and lower energy costs, particularly in combined cooling, heating, and power (CHP) applications.
Advantages of On-Site Generation
- Provides power when utility supply is down, securing highly sensitive or mission-critical loads and eliminating downtime.
- Efficient, sustainable CHP systems maximize all available opportunities to utilize fuel energy that the prime mover is unable to convert into shaft energy.
- Smaller individual units can be chained together to provide larger aggregate systems, which is beneficial for facilities that experience future growth and require a corresponding increase in energy production.
- Most systems require a relatively small space in relation to the overall power output.