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LCG, September 4, 2020--LCG Consulting completes a comprehensive congestion analysis for 2021 in California ISO (CAISO).

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NextEra's Energy Storage Projects Gain Momentum in California

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Industry News

EPA Proposes Rules to Push Cogeneration

LCG, Oct. 16, 2001--The Environmental Protection Agency yesterday proposed an amendment to the Clean Air Act that would encourage manufacturing and industrial concerns to provide their own electric power and, at the same time, produce thermal energy they now either purchase or produce in separate facilities.

The proposed new rules would make it easier to get permits for cogeneration plants, which produce electricity and use the heat from that process to make steam for their manufacturing operations and use thermal energy to heat and cool their buildings.

The idea is not new. Many of the "qualifying facility" power plants spawned by the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (PURPA) are cogeneration plants. Some companies, which require large amounts of process steam, such as those in the chemicals industry, have built cogeneration plants for that purpose and sell surplus electricity in regional wholesale power markets.

Cogeneration developers, such as Trigen Corp., have built cogen plants that provide heating and cooling to sections of cities and sell all their electric power into wholesale markets.

Conventional thermal power plants -- coal-, natural gas- and oil-fueled facilities as well as nuclear power plants, vent their waste heat to the atmosphere. Cogeneration plants, by making use of this heat, typically achieve higher energy efficiency rates that the older plants.

An older coal-fired power plant might produce power having only 30 to 50 percent of the energy present in the coal that was burned. Modern gas-fired plants, operating in combined-cycle where exhaust heat from combustion turbines is used to spin conventional turbines, improve on that and yield energy efficiency of perhaps 70 percent.

But still, 30 percent of the energy present in the plant's fuel is wasted. In a cogeneration plant, as much as 80 percent of the fuel's energy is put to use. A national energy policy report released earlier this year by the Bush administration pointed to cogeneration as a way to increase U.S. energy efficiency.

The proposed EPA rules would ease requirements for cogen plants under the agency's "new source review," which sets emissions limits for new power plants. Several industrial giants, such as Bethlehem Steel, Dow Chemical and Exxon Mobil have endorse the new rules.

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