Capital costs coupled with technical and legislative hurdles often kill projects at an early stage, following the initial enthusiasm from stakeholders to establish their very own renewable energy plants.
Planning, permits, grid connection issues, offtake agreements, etc. compound to make, what initially sounded like a great idea into a potential nightmare, with a never-ending list of items to add to the price tag.
The energy user may not wish to go it alone in purchasing and running a plant, principally due to lack of knowledge about building and managing such a development but also, with such a high capital cost, it often makes sense to employ valuable capital in its core activity, whether that be making motor cars, loaves of bread or running a data centre.
The feedstock provider, possibly a waste management or recycling company, may have the land and the volumes of material to support a viable CHP generating plant but again, the expertise and funding requirement may make it a bridge too far.
However, with the right mix of investment, expertise and strategic partners, benefits can be shared by all. Plant location is important, with the provision of fuel and the supply of heat and power preferably close at hand. This means that either the energy user or the feedstock provider are obvious targets to host the generating plant – and that brings with it a useful additional income for the party acting as host/landlord.
Choice of technology, O&M support and funding can be matched with the opportunity and a specialist management team can sit within a carefully constructed SPV to manage the project for the benefit of all of its stakeholders. In this way, energy users can lock into low cost and sustainable heat and power, feedstock providers can avoid landfill and reduce disposal costs, funders can benefit from attractive, long term revenue streams – there really are no losers.
Refgas Ltd, based in North Wales, is one such technology company, providing proven, modular, state of the art gasification and CHP systems commercially that is actively pursuing this collaborative concept in order to develop a network of localised CHP generating stations around the UK and indeed worldwide.
So to generate… collaborate!
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