AESC has strong professional interest and broad experience in the evaluation and application of distributed and renewable generating technologies for various energy market segments.
Distributed generation, the application of relatively small power plants near or at load centers, is generating competition among energy suppliers and regulated power delivery service providers. Advancements in conventional small generators (i.e. reciprocating gensets, gas turbines) and new technologies (i.e. micro-turbines and fuel cells) are proving to be more efficient, cleaner, and easier to site than larger centralized power plants. Distributed generation, therefore, has the potential to reduce power delivery costs, open new energy service markets, improve electric service reliability, and decrease environmental impacts from power generation.
AESC has extensive experience in the economic and performance evaluation of advanced generating technologies for distributed applications including: fuel cells, microturbines, reciprocating gensets, and photovoltaics, as well as wind, industrial, and aeroderivative gas turbines. AESC offers technology evaluation results for application development, strategic investment, and/or competitive intelligence.
AESC specializes in market assessments for the restructured electric markets domestically and internationally. AESC's capabilities include market definition, segmentation, and penetration projections.
Performance Testing & Monitoring
Distributed generator performance helps manage O&M costs. AESC provides electrical and thermo-hydraulic performance testing for all distributed generating technologies. Tests are custom-designed for client objectives and budgets. AESC also offers remote monitoring and control system installation for clients wishing to institute central management for a fleet of distributed generators.
Natural Gas Fuel Distribution Support
For those distributed generators fueled with natural gas, AESC offers expertise in natural gas distribution system design that includes gas distribution piping systems, regulator stations and meter sets.
California Solar Initiative (CSI) Expected Performance Based Buydown Calculator
AESC developed and implemented the CSI Expected Performance Based Buydown (EPBB) calculator, which is used for determine the upfront incentive for photovoltaic systems under 50 kW that apply to the California Solar Initiative. The calculator is web accessible (www.csi-epbb.com) and utilizes NREL's PV Watts v2 model to estimate future performance of proposed PV systems. The calculator uses an algorithm to determine if the system is optimally designed for its location. Inputs include system location by zip code, PV module make and model, number of panels, inverter make and model, number of inverters, proposed tilt and azimuth. Optimal system design is rewarded by obtaining a higher incentive, which encourages good installation practices in the market and enhances rate-payer benefits.
California Solar Initiative and Self-Generation Incentive Program Application Review
AESC provides technical support to Southern California Edison (SCE) for the review of CSI and SGIP applications to determine eligibility. AESC receives application materials from SCE and reviews the technical data to determine if the application is eligible for the technology level that is proposed. This review includes telephone discussions with applicants to clarify assumptions and calculations for system sizing and heat utilization. AESC performs site inspections for these applications, review of project cost documentation and provides SCE final review for approval of incentive payments. For Level 1 technologies, AESC has installed net generator output meters on behalf of SCE. AESC also provides SCE technical input on CPUC decisions affecting the future program design and intent.
Self-Generation Incentive Program and California Solar Initiative Technical Support
AESC provides technical support to the PG&E for the review of SGIP and CSI applications. In this effort, AESC personnel receive PG&E SGIP and CSI applications and analyze the waste heat utilization performance, reliability criteria, emissions, forecasted new load and renewable fuel resource assessments to determine eligibility. This may include evaluation of the applicant's calculation, detailed modeling of generator and thermal load operation, and/or inspection of host customer site to verify the existing and magnitude of reported thermal loads. In support of this work, AESC developed an extensive waste heat review database and reporting system that is internally to perform the required analysis and report application eligibility to PG&E. The results of AESC's review include a list of key items to be verified during the site inspection of the generator at the end of the application process.
Self-Generation Incentive Program and California Solar Initiative Implementation
AESC provides technical support services to the California Center for Sustainable Energy (CCSE) Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) and California Solar Initiative (CSI). These support services include application review, project cost review and site inspections. AESC also developed, implemented and maintains CCSE's SGIP and CSI tracking database system. In the beginning of this effort, AESC assisted CCSE and the SGIP Working Group in implementing the self-generation program (SGIP) outlined in CPUC Decision 01-03-073 that resulted from AB-970. In this capacity, AESC attended working group meetings and provided critical input in the development of the program rules and procedures. This included the development of rules for hybrid generator incentive calculations, reliability criteria and heat utilization efficiencies. In addition, AESC developed significant portions of the SGIP program manual and forms. Following program rollout in July 2001, AESC provided CCSE technical assistance in applying the program rules to customer applications.
SGIP Technical Support & Application Tracking Database
Under this contract, AESC developed, implemented and maintains SoCalGas' SGIP application tracking database system. The MS Access based system provides detailed tracking of applications and generates milestone correspondence letters to applicants. The database is an enhanced version of the system installed and maintained for CCSE. It also generates program reports that SoCalGas submits to the CPUC. On occasion, SoCalGas has asked AESC to perform site inspections and application reviews.
AESC provides direct technical support to the SGIP & CSI Working Group (WG). The WG consists of the SGIP administrators (SCE, PG&E, SoCalGas, and CCSE) and representatives from the CEC, CPUC and SDG&E. Some of tasks assigned to AESC have included analysis of project cost and incentive levels, interpretation of CPUC decisions, development of Program Modification Guidelines and development of new versions of the Program Handbook. In addition, new DG technologies are reviewed by AESC and their appropriateness for addition to the SGIP is reported to the WG.
Utility Fuel Cell Siting Study
AESC evaluated twelve candidate PG&E customer sites for the installation of natural gas fuel cells that would be owned and operated by PG&E and would export all of there electric output to the utility grid. Recovered waste heat from the fuel cell power plant would be provided to the host customer. PAFC, MCFC and SOFC fuel cells power plants were evaluated for siting. The project resulted in identifying two sites, where 2.6 MW of fuel cell power plants would be sited
Renewable Fuel Cell Siting Study
PG&E contracted AESC to determine the best fuel cell power plant configuration for the Corcoran California State Prison. AESC reviewed facility load, renewable fuel availability and existing infrastructure to determine the best location for a 1.2 MW fuel cell power plant. The analysis included identification of the biogas resource available from the local dairy farm and other organic sources for anaerobic digestion. Various digester configurations and biogas cleanup processes were evaluated for performance and cost. Power plant configuration, location, forecasted performance and cost were reported to PG&E and the Department of General Services.
Alternative Energy Source Study
For the Livermore-Amador Valley Water Management Authority, AESC analyzed a variety of self-generation options for the 3-MW pumping station in Pleasanton. Options evaluated included hydroelectric generation, photovoltaics, fuel cells, cogeneration and direct drive pumps. AESC stochastically modeled each potential alternative and determined the best options to minimize life cycle energy costs.
AESC analyzed alternatives for electric power generation at the two South Bay Union School District facilities; Oneonta and Sunny Slope schools. Technologies investigated included photovoltaics, wind turbines, fuel cells, micro-turbines and engine generators. A comprehensive energy balance and economic model is being used to determine the best technology for the facilities.
San Diego County Office of Education Alternative Energy Project
AESC analyzed alternatives for electric power generation at the San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) Linda Vista Road central facilities. Technologies investigated included photovoltaics, fuel cells, micro-turbines and engine generators. Information was gathered regarding site characteristics and a detailed stochastic model was developed. Generator capacity and operating schedule was optimized and the best options were reported to the SDCOE Board of Education.
Telluride Distributed Generator Study
Under a contract with the U.S. Forest Service, AESC developed 10 to 30 MW local gas turbine generator concepts as alternatives to a 115 kV transmission line upgrade in the Southwest Colorado area. The project included the development of the generator system design, configuration as well as make and model specification. AESC also compared the generator and transmission line upgrade benefits and costs. Generator capacity addition scheduling and environmental risk factors were also determined.