By Jesse Berst, Smart Grid News, US:
District energy and its cousin combined co-generation have found astonishing success in places like Denmark, but never caught on in North America. Advocates have long trumpeted them because of their energy efficiency. But now proponents are talking about district energy as a way to improve resilience.
With reliability and resilience top of mind with most regulators, this new twist presents both a threat and an opportunity. It´s a threat if office parks and campuses organize district energy on their own and minimize the power they need from the local utility. It´s an opportunity if the utility gets in the district energy game and installs and maintains systems for those who need it.
District energy produces cooling, heating and power locally and distributes it to nearby buildings
The Sustainable Cities Collective has just posted a helpful article on district energy and microgrids. Although it focuses on the ways cities can spur it along, it has useful information for utilities as well. Especially for utilities at risk for tornadoes and hurricanes. Businesses in those regions are determined to lessen their vulnerability to storms.
They´d be glad to do it in partnership with their local utility if it´s easy. But if they encounter resistance or ignorance, they´re likely to go it alone.
Jesse Berst is the founder and Chief Analyst of SGN and Chairman of the Smart Cities Council, an industry coalition.