About Sterling Energy
For over twenty years, the Sterling Energy Group has provided specialized energy-engineering support to utilities and major industrial & institutional clients to advance the efficient use of energy.
Combined Heating and Power (CHP or cogeneration) is the most efficient method of generating power on the planet, yet it is vastly underutilized in the US. Our focus is on engineering modeling, economic analysis, development and optimization of Combined Heating and Power and a wide range of other efficiency projects. We work to in a collaborative manner between utilities and their key industrial and institutional customers to help capture the significant benefits CHP can provide, particularly when the utility can own CHP as a competitive base load resource. This collaboration between a utility and their key customers lets each tap and share in the substantial efficiency benefit CHP provides, permitting the utility customer to deploy their capital into their core business, not power generation.
We help guide our client through the complex engineering, heat and power balance modeling, to document both the engineering and economic building blocks and synergy, efficiency and shared benefits on both sides of the meter. Then, we work though the structural, regulatory, and project development process required to make CHP projects win/win for utilities, their key customers with continuous thermal loads, and all customers with this clean, low cost source of base load power.
Sterling Energy has built a knowledge base and reputation for innovation for combining energy engineering and economic know-how developed over hundreds of project development throughout North America. Our unique collaborative approach between major energy users and their utility suppliers to leverage knowledge and resources on both side of the meter to help continually drive efficiency projects and CHP where it fits both.
Thoughts on CHP and Efficiency
Sterling Energy has helped lead an electric industry initiative to bring collaboration between utilities and their large, high load factor customers with continuous thermal loads in the development of utility-owned combined Heating and Power (CHP or Cogeneration as many call it).
Through this collaborative approach to drive efficiency, Sterling Energy has been the leading advocate and advisor to help bring utilities and their high load factor customers (with continuous thermal loads), together to capture the enormous values available through CHP. up to 50% increase efficiency of power generation via
Combined Heating and Power (CHP or Cogeneration as many call it) has become the focus of many organizations. Utility ownership eliminates the traditional barriers customer-owned projects incur of High IRR for non-core business investments , uncertainty over long term spark spread, interconnection challenges, unfamiliarity with gas turbine or CHP operations. For utility ownership it provides a full range of economic, environmental and other benefits on both sides of the meter that benefit all customers.
- Properly applied sites have the lowest net heat rates and net levelized cost of energy to serve load vs any other base load supply resource
- Avoidance of T&D Losses by supplying MW’s at source of load – average of 7% but can be much higher during peak period with heat and line loading
- Possible avoidance or deferral of future capital investment for congested T&D Feeders – can support compliance with new FERC 1000 regs for alternatives to transmission. Cases are specific
- Smaller environmental footprint & substantially emissions / MWh (NOX, S0X, CO2) & zero water use
- Much faster, less risky development cycle – can build in any air permit region and/or congested areas
- Can achieve a 24 month cycle from evaluating / planning /permitting to in-service
- Flexibility and speed in planning – development of CHP in smaller increments more closely reflecting (uncertain) load growth with much lower carrying costs/risks
- Utility ownership permits sizing project to thermal load if needed to increase MW size by 2-3 times, instead of sizing to electric load to minimize exports as is done by customer owned CHP
- Partnering with high load factor customers via long term (5, 10, 20 year) agreements for thermal energy supply means customer retention, even during economic downturns
- Provision of value added services to major customers – increased resiliency of steam and electric supply means less downtime and more production per year
- Infrastructure modernization & efficiency improvements (without capital investment), more competitive steam, hot water, cooling supply improves customer profitability
- Reliability, reliability, reliability means less down-time (forced and scheduled) increasing production / service hours & lower costs all helping customers be more competitive and remain as customer