The Case for Distributed & Dispatchable Capacity on Microgrids

On hot summer days when millions of businesses and homeowners run their air conditioners simultaneously, or during cold snaps when customers need power to heat their homes and renewable energy production is diminished, “peaker plants” are what make it possible.

More than 1,000 dispatchable power plants are used only in response to peak demand—under 15% of the time, and often much less. Because of their limited operations, these power plants are not held to the same efficiency and emissions standards as power plants providing base load.

As a result, their operating costs are high and their impact on air-quality is significant. Inside this playbook, we look at the benefits to utilities and customers from distributed peak generating capacity. The playbook covers:

  • Distributed generation vs. peaker power plants
  • Two complementary utility perspectives
  • Generating peak capacity with reciprocating gas engines
  • The future of peak generation