Benefits and Barriers to Clean Energy
(See our Policies & Incentives section and Emerging Issues subsection for in-depth discussions of policy issues currently confronting clean energy adoption.)
- Improved fuel efficiency — up to 2/3 savings in fuel costs!
- Improved power quality & reliability
- Improved energy cost predictability
- Business continuity
- Energy security
- Reduced emissions per unit of useful output- up to 33%-50% reduced emissions!
- Lower overall capital cost for power per kW
- No ratepayer investment required in generating, transmitting or distributing power
- Reduced land-use impacts and NIMBY objectives
- Reduced fresh water use
- Optimized natural gas, reducing price volatility- up to 40% greater efficiency than conventional units!
- Creation of new high-tech manufacturing sector in domestic and export markets
- Support of competitive electricity market structure
...for electric utilities:
- Reduced energy losses in transmission lines - current transmission losses are roughly 10%! Clean energy requires no remote transmission and therefore sustains no transmission losses.
- Reduced upstream congestion on transmission lines
- Reduced or deferred infrastructure (line and substation) upgrades
- Optimal use of existing grid assets, including the potential to free up transmission assets for increased wheeling capacity
- Less capital tied up in unproductive assets
- Improved grid reliability
- Higher energy conversion efficiencies than central generation
- Faster permitting than transmission line upgrades
- Ancillary benefits including voltage support & stability, contingency reserves and black start capability
- National interconnection standards and procedures apply differently, or not at all, depending on region
- Standby and backup power charges
- Interconnection approval can be slow
- Stranded cost-recovery charges and exit fees
- Air regulations that do not recognize the environmental benefits of CHP
- Non-standardized, time-consuming environmental permitting process
- Complex local ordinances regarding siting, zoning, fire code, etc...
- Volatile natural gas prices and "spark spread"
- Facility managers unaware of the benefits of on-site power generation
- On-site generation systems' lack of a specific tax depreciation category. CHP systems can qualify for one of several categories depending on configuration and ownership resulting in a depreciation period ranging from 5 to 39 years.