Demand-side Management and Energy Efficiency

Demand-side Management and Energy Efficiency

Distributed Generation Technologies: A Global Perspective

Saifur Rahman

Alexandria Research Institute

Virginia Tech

This paper examines the opportunities provided by large-scale central station power plants and primarily renewable energy-based distributed generation technologies to meet the challenges of a sustainable energy system. It looks at the present and future of coal, oil and gas-based central station generation and the remaining life of these fuel sources. It then explores the renewable energy technologies like solar, wind, hydro and geothermal, as well as some high-efficiency technologies like the fuel cell power plant. The market penetration and energy cost issues as well as environmental concerns from renewable energy technologies (like hydropower) are explored. The paper concludes with the opinion that solar, wind, selected hydro, and some form of nuclear power will be the main sources of electricity several decades from now.