GEM Energy’s Saratoga Springs, NY office is conducting a feasibility study of a Combined Heat and Power (CHP) system for a multi-use facility in the City of Ithaca. The CHP system is planned to be the first installation of a proposed downtown heating district that will include the ability to sell energy from the CHP system(s) to the district tenants.
The following article, written by Bill Chaisson, appeared on the
ithacatimes.com website on Friday, January 11, 2013.
Herb Dwyer and ASI Energy have proposed a “downtown heating district” that would use “combined heat and power” (CHP; also called “cogeneration”) to decrease both the carbon footprint and the cost of energy for urban businesses and residents.
He has presented a plan for a feasibility study to the Common Council of the City of Ithaca, and they have endorsed it.
Frost Travis of Travis Hyde Properties, the owner of Center Ithaca, is the first customer of Energize Ithaca, the committee of community leaders pushing the heating district idea forward. He has agreed that Center Ithaca will be the first “node” in the heating district, and a feasibility study for this part of the proposed district is already underway, due to be completed in the next few weeks. McFarland Johnson, a Binghamton engineering firm, is already drafting schematic plans for the new CHP physical plant for Center Ithaca.
“When Sandy happened,” said Dwyer, “devastating downtown in New York City, the downtown heating district still had electricity.”
This decentralization of power production is one of the advantages of heating districts. In addition to being less dependent on large energy transportation networks remaining intact during disasters, Dwyer explained, rate payers in these districts are not paying for all the energy that is lost when it is transported long distances.
“Line losses add up,” said Dwyer. “Lost energy is lost money.”
When energy is generated and used locally, less fuel is burned and a greater proportion of the energy is actually used; the fuel that was burned to produce energy that was merely lost during transport is removed from the equation.
The other advantage of a heating district is derived from the use of heat generated in power production rather than discarding it. In conventional, centralized power plants residual heat is discharged into the environment in the form of steam through cooling towers or as warm water into adjacent bodies of water.