what

No two projects require the same solution. As an integrator of many parts, responsible to deliver the right result, we follow a careful process:

  1. Discuss your need, do we have a solution that might fit?
  2. Carefully examine your plant or building, and review your energy cost, based on electricity and gas bills.
  3. If necessary, monitor your real power demand by measuring and logging your power use.
  4. Design, price, and propose a solution for a decision to proceed.
  5. Proceed to a Design Engineering Study (DES) to confirm savings from hourly data and obtain utility approval.
  6. Submit the final proposal and obtain the purchase order and deposit.
  7. Prepare the final Engineering construction drawings and get municipal permits and government approvals.
  8. Order equipment and prepare the site for installation.
  9. As equipment arrives, install and commission if partial benefits can be obtained.
  10. Commission the completed project.
  11. Provide ongoing support, or if required, operate and/or manage the equipment on your behalf.

Of these steps, you pay no cost until (maybe) step 3, and no other “risk” cost until step 5. When you make your commitment (step 6) we expect typical advances and progress payments. Of course, we can also supply under a shared savings agreement, in which we share the savings and you only make the commitment to buy the energy.

We stand behind what we design. We have to, we may be carrying the resultant risk that the project works, and meets objectives. 

Below are some typical cases. They are rough overviews of CCHP philosophy. However, the final story, and benefits, are what we find when we carefully examine the details of your situation.

Cogeneration CHP / CCHP

“G.A. Busting”

Independent Island

Schematic cogen
Hydro bill

The typical CHP is installed on your premises, behind the hydro meter. The building remains connected to the grid, but some of your power is generated by your own machine. That power is much cheaper than grid power after credit for recovered heat, so that pays for the equipment. Sounds simple?

It is not. With the grid live in your building, your machine is “co-generating” power along with the grid: it has to match. If you make mistakes, you can damage the local grid, and maybe more. The grid was laid out to supply your power, so the upstream transformers and switches are sized accordingly. If your machine has a massive short or phase mismatch or similar events under your control (not Hydro’s), you can make upstream grid equipment fail. So Hydro requires an impact (CIA) study, and governs the capacity and methods used to install your CHP. Hydro is busy, the study can take six months, a year, or more to be completed. 

As a result of this delay, and the loss of subsidy programs, CHP activity has dropped in recent months. The concept remains very viable, but present circumstances have made justification difficult. However, adding an absorption chiller  (CCHP) which permits the use of a larger CHP can often create paybacks in the range of four to five years (maintenance included and without incentives).

The Hydro bill is full of adjustments. After the raw cost of the power (typically under $0.04), there are many local distribution, debt and administration charges. On top of that, Hydro charges “Global Adjustment” to account for the fact that the local bill does not cover all of Hydro’s financial responsibilities. For Class A (large) customers, that can add 100% to 150% surcharge onto the local bill.

Since Hydro has to build for peak power, they charge their largest customers based on their contribution to the year’s 5 largest peak demand. This has given rise to “GA busting”, where plants take themselves off the grid on days expected to be “peak”. This is not just a few times a year, since early peak days may be dropped from the list as new peaks happen.

If you want to keep operating, you need non-grid power. Standby generators will work, often for only part of the load, and they are wasteful. CHP generators will work, but Hydro will require the CIA study. Both methods need switch-over strategies acceptable to Hydro, or the plant would have to momentarily shut down.

A clever way to beat the GA is with the BROAD absorption chiller. GA peaks tend to happen on high heat days. BROAD chillers are negligible electric demand, i.e. do not add to the peak. Switch from centrifugal chillers to BROAD chillers to beat the peak.

We have solutions to all these issues. The solutions are so effective that for large plants, your generated hydro rates are as low as Hydro’s “raw” electricity cost. You can beat not only the GA, but also bypass local incidental additional charges (distribition, administration, …). With Hydro rate rises inevitable, and natural gas prices stable or down, the future is obvious.

If you

  • do not have enough power from Hydro,
  • are in an area that has gas or biogas but no electricity
  • have power reliability problems from Hydro, or
  • your bill is huge, and you want “out”,

then “islanding”, generating power off-grid, is for you.

There are many islanding solutions. The simplest is to just disconnect, and run from CHP instead (we recommend CCHP). If your load is not critical, the power regulation from a generator may be good enough. Otherwise, we have many ways to make your power quality better than the grid, and entirely under your control. Islanding without grid fall-back requires some careful maintenance strategies, to make sure you can keep going no matter what. We can help with that.

Islanding puts your electricity bill and quality under your control. Maybe you are not comfortable with that. Do you have people with the right expertise? We do, so we can either run the plant for you, or provide you with an electricity supply contract at rates substantially less than Hydro. Quality can be contracted.

Standby Power

Better Power Quality

Greenhouse and Grow Systems

You may have needs that say electricity cannot be down. So you either have a generator on site, or you have a terminal they can attach to, if a generator trailer is brought in. 

What a waste! Standby generators may or may not use cheap fuel, and they have no heat recovery. CCHP makes much more sense, economically, as well as for the environment. 

We have many scenarios where we can ensure continuous power for you. These methods are not a cost (like standby power), they are a source of savings. In the extreme, we can run the plant for you and sell you electricity at reduced rates, at power quality levels that Hydro does not achieve.

Modern plants and buildings have controls and systems that can be very power sensitive. The shift engineer running the power grid for Hydro may want to rearrange the grid resources when he comes on (that power flick that dims the lights at about the same time every day). That may trip some of your controls and automation into a reset or reboot. It may be minutes before systems are all back. In the meantime, equipment may shut down, batch operations produce garbage, packing lines collide product, and filling lines make questionable product. Why would you tolerate that?

We can fix your power quality. If quality includes brown-outs, we can fix it with energy savings. Instead of having a problem that costs, and threatens your operation, have us install a solution for you that protects the plant AND saves you money.

Large greenhouses can consume enormous amounts of power. Grow ops not in a greenhouse have special lighting and humidity control needs. Our designers include former manufacturers of LED light circuits and Canada’s top dehumidification expert. (We are also affiliated with a top security designer). So if you are looking for solutions, we have them.

There are many lighting power options that should reduce cost and power, while increasing yield. The CCHP and island solutions can save you power cost, particularly in rural areas. Humidity control to reduce mold is possible, and can dramatically increase yield/sq-ft.

Talk to us. Inquiries are free. We have so many solutions available, we can almost certainly help your operation.

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