Well, the world is getting ready - we just need reliable ZPE devices to satisfy our own energy needs and sell the excess power to the utility. With SEAS ZPrize, that should happen soon...I hope.
According to a recent EPRI report, the utility has the tools now and would be more than happy to take our power!;-). The report is entitled "Novel Distributed Generation Control and Dispatching System: Application Validation and Benefits Quantification", Report 1004448, Published Oct 2002...(more)
Abstract: This report describes a novel control and dispatching hardware/software system for distributed generation. The system allows the connection of multiple generators at a number of sites to a utility control and monitoring system for the purpose of providing peaking power for the utility. Using distributed generation for this purpose is a potentially cost-effective solution to localized power system constraints caused by the
inability to increase power transmission into an area experiencing steady growth in local power demand.
Background: Within nearly every utility territory is a population of emergency generators that provide backup in the case of a utility power outage. These generators are essentially invisible to the utility system. They are typically separated from the grid by transfer switches and protection systems and only operate when there is a grid fault and for periodic brief tests. Individually, these emergency generators range from a few kilowatts to a few megawatts each, but collectively this population of emergency generators represents a multi-megawatt block of power that could provide a meaningful system contribution during peak periods.
Objective: To demonstrate a novel control and dispatching hardware/software system for distributed generation.
Approach: The project team installed a control and dispatching system for distributed generation at the Lovelace Medical Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico and documented the system's operation.
Results: In 1997, Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM) proposed an instantaneous baseload interruptible rate for customers with their own generating equipment and the ability to dispatch power to the grid within one minute. With the assistance of co-funding arrangements, Lovelace Medical Center, a full service hospital in Albuquerque, upgraded their generator control and protection systems to take advantage of the new rate plan. The new system control equipment was installed in March of 1999. Currently, Lovelace has an 800 kW gas-fired Waukesha system with heat recovery that is part of PNM's existing experimental incremental load interruptible rate. This experimental rate uses a call-in system for the utility to notify the customer to start their generator. Lovelace also has two 450 kW Cummins diesel emergency gen-sets that could increase their peaking capability under the new rate from 800 kW to 1,700 kW.
The system has undergone test interruptions and successfully completed a system interruption at the utility's request. Unexpected regulatory changes occurred during the project that unfortunately eliminated the financial motivation for instantaneous utility dispatch. The system continues to operate successfully as a fully integrated generator control system for the hospital and for providing peak load support on notification from the utility under the old experimental rate.
EPRI Perspective: The distributed generation application demonstrated at the Lovelace Medical Center is an integrated control, communications, and paralleling system for electric utility customer on-site power generation that allows the utility to dispatch the customer's generation to meet utility needs for capacity and reserve. The system is capable of controlling multiple generator sites.
You can order this report from the EPRI Order and Conference Center.
EPRI Order and Conference Center
1355 Willow Way Suite 278
Concord, CA 94520-5728
Phone (800) 313-3774 press 2
Phone (925) 609-9169