This paper summarizes the proceedings of the 1995 workshop in San Francisco, CA on “Small Gas Turbines for Distributed Generation” and the planned winter of 1996 follow-on workshop. The working definition for distributed generation used in the workshop was modular generation (generally 1–50 MW) in various applications located on electric customers sites or near load centers in an electric grid. The workshop was sponsored by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), the Gas Research Institute (GRI), the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E). The objectives were to:

• review historical operating experience, market trends and the current state of the art of small gas turbine based options (1–50 MW size range);

• characterize benefits, motivations, application requirements and issues of small gas turbines in distributed generation strategies amongst “stakeholders”;

• identify what further efforts, technology or otherwise, should be pursued to enhance future opportunities for small gas turbine “stakeholders’; and

• define “stakeholder” interest in future forums for coordination and discussion of improved distributed generation strategies based on small gas turbines.

The workshop was attended by over 42 electric or gas utilities, 12 independent power companies and a broad cross section of equipment suppliers. Architect and Engineers (A&E’s), Research Development and Demonstration (RD&D) programs, government organizations, international utilities and other interested parties. The total workshop attendance was over 140. Small gas turbine technologies, user case histories, operating experiences, electric and gas system requirements, distributed generation economic theory, regulatory issues and general industry perspectives were reviewed. Industry input was gathered through a formal survey and four break-out sessions on future small gas turbine user needs, market requirements and potential hurdles for distributed generation.

Presentations by suppliers and users highlighted the significant commercial operating experience with small gas turbines in numerous electric utility and non-electric utility “distributed” generation applications. The primary feedback received was that there is significant and growing market interest in distributed generation strategies based on small gas turbines options. General consensus was that small gas turbine systems using natural gas would be the technology of choice in the United States for much of the near-term distributed generation market. Most participants felt that improved gas turbine technology, applications and distributed generation benefit economic evaluation models could significantly enhance the economics of distributed generation. Over 30 utility or other users expressed support for the formation of a small gas turbine interest group and an equal number expressed interest in hosting or participating in demonstration projects. A strong interest was indicated in the need for a follow-on workshop that would be more applications focused and provide a forum for coordinating research activities. Current plans by EPRI, GRI and DOE will be to include the follow-on as part of a planned workshop on “Flexible Gas Turbine Strategies” in the fall of 1996.

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