Why Decentralizing Power Generation is Better for the Environment

 

In order to meet the challenge of a sustainable mixed-use community, the community plan must address how to integrate and balance the energy demands of the occupants. The first step in sustainable infrastructure design begins by planning for the most energy efficient, climate change adaptable and technologically viable arrangement of buildings that can distribute power and energy generation within their own footprints.

 

Currently, the dominant model for power generation and energy distribution is to concentrate services in one geographic area and link to far away users with supply conduits. According to the National Energy Board (2019), in Alberta, about 89% of electricity is produced from fossil fuels (50% coal and 39% natural gas). The World Coal Association (2019) reports that the average global efficiency rate of coal-fired power plants is in the range of 30%. This means that for 100 units of coal energy, only 30 units are converted into electricity while rest 70% are wasted in generation, distribution and transmission losses.

 

Distributed power generation and energy delivery is commonly used to meet the energy demands of urban infrastructure. This means that urban infrastructure is fed from existing power and gas grids, but ties in with small loads spread out more evenly and located directly in population centers.

 

Achieving Sustainable Infrastructure

One way to achieve a sustainable infrastructure and energy economy over the long term is to promote micro-scale generation for electricity and energy sharing within communities and respond to thermal demand effectively. Energy sharing aims to enlarge the usage of unused energy effectively with an increase in the potential of energy utilization that will be wasted otherwise. For example, heat generated by refrigerators in the retail, instead of being rejected to the atmosphere, can be used to heat the greenhouse.

 

For Alberta to respond to changing emission regulations, climate change challenges, economic and environmental needs, reconsideration is needed in the way in which we plan our developments to produce and use power and energy.

 

The first step towards sustainable infrastructure is to develop individual buildings to improve efficiency and increase knowledge of how to change design and development practices to be more energy efficient.

 

The next step is to integrate these efficient buildings into an urban plan that can balance energy loads between buildings by generating power and sharing thermal energy on-site instead of discharging the waste heat to the atmosphere.

 

Such a strategy can help urban planners to move away from the present model of producing power and energy in large clusters far removed from end users. Having an on-site generation of electricity and using waste heat on the site by sharing within the community has the potential to greatly reduce the energy footprint on a community and can achieve a substantial reduction in the dependence on utility grids.

 

An additional benefit of this approach is in the social dimension, by empowering communities to promote sustainability and environmental stewardship. Communities benefit by having greater control over how their choices for using energy affects the quality of life and the local environment. Utility companies also benefit from community energy sharing technologies by requiring less backup capacity to deal with the load fluctuations.

 

An urban development can effectively plan to balance large and smaller loads so that daily variability in consumption can be shared, with electrical and heating loads balancing the energy demand of a community.

 

-Ali Syed

 


About Ali Syed

Ali is a trainer in CIET’s Certified Energy Manager course. He has more than 17 years of diverse experience in Energy Conservation, Renewable Energy Systems, Energy Performance Contracting, Energy Management and Sustainability. Ali is working as a Technical Lead overseeing entire LEED, BOMA, Green Globes, Built Green Facilitation & Energy Modeling, HVAC System sizing, Energy Auditing, Life-Cycle Costing Assessment, Measurement & Verification and some Commissioning work for the Alberta Government. Ali is also a CaGBC Experienced Energy Modeller, LEED AP, Green Globes Professional (GGP), Certified Energy Manager (CEM) and Certified Measurement and Verification Professional (CMVP).  

 

Throughout his career, Ali has conducted numerous Energy Audits ranging from commercial, healthcare, educational, residential and heavy industrial clients across North America and Asia. He actively speaks at international energy conferences and symposia and teach numerous courses in energy conservation across North America. Finally, Ali has published more than a dozen peer-reviewed articles on energy conservation globally and he demonstrates in-depth knowledge and understanding of project management tools & methodologies, as well as instruments and processes related to project preparation & implementation, resource management, and stakeholder communications.

 

 

Read more articles from CIET Trainers

Newsletter subscription

Yes, I consent to receiving CIET communications. I understand that I may unsubscribe at any time.

Share your training needs with us!

Would you like to be trained on a specific topic? Just let us know!

mailExpress my interest

Certified Energy Auditor (CEA)

Certified Energy Manager (CEM)

Certified Measurement and Verification Professional (CMVP)

Certified RETScreen® Expert (CRE)

Advanced RETScreen® Expert

Introduction to Recommissioning (RCx)

Advanced Course on Building Recommissioning (RCx)

Introduction to RETScreen® Expert

Certified Building Commissioning Professional (CBCP)

Energy Efficiency for Building Operators & Maintenance Staff (EEBO)

Building Operator Certification Training (BOC)

Energy Management Professional 101 (EMP 101)

Prep Course for the NRCan Foundation Level Exam

Prep Course for the NRCan ERS v15 Energy Advisor Exam

Advanced Energy Advisor: Tools for completing your probationary files

Intro to HOT-2000

Advanced HOT2000

Multi-Unit Residential Buildings (MURBS): Conducting an assessment of a small residential building

Heat Integration of Industrial Processes (HIIP)

Introduction to Building Energy Modelling in Compliance with the NECB

Building Energy Modelling Professional – Tools, Software and Compliance

Building Automation Systems Optimization Essentials

Advanced Building Automation Systems Optimization

Making the Case for Energy Efficiency

Dollars to $ense Energy Management Workshops

1-Day Best Practices of ICI Energy Management – Dollars to $ense Workshop

Fundamentals of Compressed Air Systems

Advanced Management of Compressed Air Systems

Becoming Carbon neutral: Key concepts, strategies and initiatives

Advanced Measurement and Verification

Other course

Send us your question

Send us an email and we will respond as soon as possible.

COVID-19 Information for CIET'S Fall 2021 Training Calendar – CIET will continue with virtual training!

Last Updated: May 18, 2021

 

CIET to continue Virtual Real-Time classroom training this fall!

With well over 100 virtual real-time courses delivered since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, and based on feedback received from more than 1,600 participants, CIET is happy to inform that all public training sessions offered this fall will be delivered through our virtual real-time classrooms.

 

This will allow everyone to continue to access CIET training in a safe manner, which protects both our participants and our trainers, regardless of what happens with the pandemic or public health measures. This allows you  the peace of mind to register for a virtual training course today, knowing that the training will be delivered with the same quality of training that you expect from an in-person CIET course. Also, keeping the virtual real-time training sessions will ensure that our full course calendar is available to all participants across Canada and abroad, regardless of geographical location.

 

REGISTER FOR YOUR NEXT VIRTUAL TRAINING COURSE TODAY!

 

You can find more information about CIET’s virtual training approach:


Through all these measures, CIET hopes to provide as much flexibility as possible to training participants while respecting its commitments to other participants, trainers and partners, as well as public health recommendations.

We thank you very much for your trust and collaboration and look forward to welcoming you in our virtual classrooms!

 

Best regards,

The CIET Team
info@cietcanada.com
647 255-3107