Steps for C&I companies: plan your own project
For C&I companies interested in investigating microgrid opportunities, the following checklist can be used to collate initial project information:
1. Current situation (operational conditions in facility):
- Technical setup: current/historic levels of power supply reliability, current power generation mix, type of distribution grid, typical load profile, identification of critical loads versus controllable loads, heat loads, chill loads, available space for a microgrid;
- Environmental considerations (emissions rates, emissions targets);
- Financial considerations – operating costs: fuel costs, electricity prices, fuel price volatility, proportion of
electricity costs as a share of total cost of sold goods, opportunity costs of outages caused by historic levels of reliability; and
- Project objectives: minimize energy bills, reduce outages, reduce emissions, provide spinning reserve, peak demand reduction, etc.
2. Project feasibility:
- Applicable policies: planning and permitting regulations, power tariff structure, grid connection charges, grid use of system charges;
- Renewable resource: wind speeds, solar irradiation, shadow effects;
- Site information: land availability, thresholds that trigger planning permission, environmental impact assessment, visual impact assessment, timescales for development, supply chain lead times, etc.;
- Commercial structures: self- ownership, infrastructure fund, IPP, PPA, returns to owners;
- Financing structure: balance sheet, debt/equity, PPP, etc.; and
- Technical viability: grid integration principles, technology choices and optimum size, site layout, ability to feed power back to grid or not, etc.
To find out more, read WBCSD’s report on Microgrids for commercial and industrial companies.