Natural gas set to remain a secure power solution

There are a number of key traits that comprise an effective power solution, such as reliability, cost efficiency and environmental friendliness. It's the desire for these features that is leading many organisations to reconsider how they attain and use electricity within their operations.

These demands are having a drastic effect on the nature of the world's energy landscape, with the rise in renewable energy just one example of the developments that will shape the future. However, a recent report found that these alternatives are unlikely to completely replace traditional forms of energy generation, with power security a key advantage of natural gas solutions.

Reliability defines natural gas use

For businesses making a foray into off-grid electricity generation with natural gas microturbines, power security is essential. Organisations need to be able to rely on these additions to their operations as any failures can greatly impact productivity and safety.

Natural gas is a low-cost and reliable power source.

McKinsey & Company investigated the global uptake of renewable energy and its projected future. The firm found that while there is a growing interest in wind, solar and geothermal power, there are some traits of traditional power generation that these options can't match.

The most notable, McKinsey & Company found, is reliability. Where solar and wind power are at the mercy of environmental factors, natural gas microturbines can continue to offer a low-cost and consistent alternative. By 2040, the organisation predicts that natural gas will continue to fuel almost one-quarter (24 per cent) of all electricity generation. In comparison, renewable energy is expected to account for just 17 per cent.

Merging natural gas with renewable energy

However, businesses don't have to treat natural gas and renewable energy as exclusive solutions to their electricity needs. Instead, both options can work together, as they each have their own set of unique traits and can complement each other.

As described above, some renewable energy installations can be affected by changing weather conditions. In these cases, microturbines powered by natural gas can offer a reliable backup that can fill in the gaps when required.

It's also important that Australian businesses at least begin to consider how their operations could be buoyed by a combination of renewable energy and other off-grid support solutions. The fact that the Australian government recently came out in support of a solar future is further proof that it's a development worth considering.

The $1 billion Clean Energy Innovation Fund promises to ensure the commercial viability of renewable energy technology throughout Australia. According to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, there are a range of benefits to pursuing these innovations.

"We are promoting innovation and new economic opportunities, enhancing our productivity, protecting our environment and reducing emissions to tackle climate change," he explained.

"By offering innovative equity and debt products, the Clean Energy Innovation Fund can accelerate the availability of new technologies to transform the energy market, and deliver better value for taxpayers."

Microturbines can backup renewable energy systems.Microturbines can backup renewable energy systems.

Taking microturbines a step further

There are other ways microturbines can assist a business too. As well as providing reliable power and supporting renewable energy installations, cogeneration offers another level of efficiency.

Like most types of machinery, microturbines generate waste heat. However, unlike some of their counterparts in other applications, microturbines have the ability to reuse this waste in order to provide heating to a building or structure. The NSW government produced a Cogeneration feasibility guide which found that the process reduces energy costs by up to 60 per cent, while also improving environmental ratings for the building in which it's installed.

To find out more about the many applications of Capstone microturbines, contact the team at Optimal Group.

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