Superstorm Sandy couldn’t stop microturbine CHP power

Superstorm Sandy 2012

December 2016 – Superstorm Sandy, the costliest hurricane in U.S. history, caused an estimated $20 billion in business losses. After the storm, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) contacted 24 sites with combined heat and power CHP systems, including several with Capstone microturbines. All 24 sites operated continuously during the grid outage. Read why… SUPERSTORM SANDY CAN’T STOP COMBINED HEAT & POWER


Top 20 producer grows microturbine fleet to 160

December  2016 – One of the nation’s Top 20 oil and gas producers added 16 Capstone microturbines to its 144-unit fleet that powers company well sites throughout the San Juan Basin. The latest microturbines from Capstone distributor Horizon Power Systems will provide an additional 2.6 megawatts of power.

Utility service is not available at the company’s well sites since many are located miles from the closest towns in extremely remote and rugged areas. Capstone microturbines, which average 99 percent power availability and run on raw natural gas produced from the field, are the sole power source for all of the producer’s operations in the San Juan Basin.

For 16 years, the Top 20 producer has worked closely with Horizon Power — Capstone’s largest distributor in the Americas – to build a growing microgrid system that produces uninterrupted power for onsite equipment across several sites. The microgrid connects isolated well sites across the Mancos and Gallup shale plays in the San Juan Basin. In addition to the Mancos and Gallup plays, Horizon Power sells and services Capstone microturbines in the Eagle Ford, Permian, Barnett, and Wattenberg shale plays.

2.6MW of Microturbine Power

The producer’s latest order with Horizon Power is for a C800 (800 kilowatts), two C600s (600 kilowatts each) and multiple C65 and C30 microturbines (65 and 30 kilowatts respectively). Low-emission power generated by each microturbine will drive artificial lifts and assist with the transfer of oil and water to various points of the production field.

A microturbine, which is based on jet-engine technology, is much easier and less expensive to maintain than traditional onsite engines because it has only one moving part (compared to hundreds of moving parts in conventional gensets). Instead of needing oil, other lubricants, or coolants, a microturbine use simple air bearing technology that significantly reduces downtime, thus increasing production opportunities and reducing maintenance costs.

“Some microturbines in the microgrid system have over 100,000 operating hours,” said Bryan Hensley, Horizon Power’s Executive Vice President of North American Sales. “The producer knows how reliable a microturbine is. Ever since the first microturbines were installed in 2000, they have repeatedly worked with us because they are committed to using Capstone microturbines.”

Horizon Power expects to commission the microturbines in three phases starting in December.

“Despite the prolonged slump in the energy industry, oil and gas producers continue to look for ways to reduce their operational costs and meet the increasingly stringent flaring requirements, which is a long term catalyst for our business,” said Darren Jamison, President and Chief Executive Officer at Capstone.

Capstone microturbines meet or exceed the world’s toughest emission standards. Since the first installation for the producer in 2000, none of the sites have required additional emission-reduction equipment because microturbines already meet EPA standards. Nitrogen oxide emissions from a Capstone microturbine is less than 9 parts per million. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, “diesel engines produce 5 to 20 times the NOx (on a ppmv basis) of a lean burn natural gas engine” when used in a combined heat and power application.

“We are beginning to see positive movement in our oil and gas business as customers continue to see the value in the scalability of Capstone microturbine technology,” said Jim Crouse, Capstone’s Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing.


My view: Congress should provide parity across energy technologies

December 2016 – We are proud Utah business leaders working to power hospitals, make businesses more energy-independent and globally competitive, and create jobs at home that cannot be outsourced. We seek to diversify the U.S. energy economy and grow new industries.

But while many clean energy technologies provide powerful long-term savings, the initial capital costs of equipment can be a barrier to some of our clients — especially those taking a risk in founding a new business. That is why Congress created an investment tax credit to help companies manage these higher upfront costs. Across America, this tax incentive has already helped hundreds of businesses create tens of thousands of new jobs. Unfortunately, the credit is slated to expire at the end of this year.

Last December, Congress extended federal tax incentives for two major types of clean energy, wind and solar, for the next five years. Those businesses now have a market driver to continue to develop their technologies in ways that will expand these industries and ultimately bring down costs. But lawmakers left tax credits for other clean energy systems out of the deal, putting technologies such as combined heat and power, microturbines, fuel cells, small wind, geothermal, and geothermal heat pumps at a competitive disadvantage.

Our clean energy businesses here in Utah aren’t looking for special treatment. We just want our clean and efficient technologies to be treated fairly and given the same chance to succeed.

But extending the tax credit for the remaining clean energy systems isn’t just about fairness; it’s also about growing the economy by reducing energy costs, producing more energy here at home and investing in jobs that cannot be shipped overseas.

For example, installing combined heat and power systems, which burn a single fuel source and use both the heat and electricity, must be done on-site, creating jobs that stay in local communities. It often relies on natural gas — utilizing America’s abundant domestic fossil fuel resources in the cleanest, most efficient manner possible. Once installed, combined heat and power can double a facility’s energy efficiency, making that company more competitive in the global marketplace. And since these systems generate energy on-site, they can even be used to power hospitals or other sensitive facilities during power outages or other grid disturbances, making our communities safer.

Geothermal and geothermal heat pump technology provides another great opportunity for investing in local job creation. These technologies allow a home or business to use the natural temperature of the earth underground to passively heat and cool buildings. Again, these are construction jobs that can’t be outsourced. We are already seeing China emerge as a global leader of solar panel and wind turbine production, allowing for more outsourcing in those industries. Extending tax credits beyond wind and solar will make it easier to create and sustain jobs here at home.

Our lawmakers — particularly Sen. Orrin Hatch, who is chairman of the Senate Finance Committee — should level the playing field for clean energy technologies by extending the investment tax credit for all clean energy systems. Extending these tax credits would allow for real choice in the energy industry and allow businesses to find the energy solution that’s right for them. Doing this creates more clean energy and more jobs here at home. It’s the right thing for Utah and the right thing for the United States.

Jeff Dixon is corporate account manager for Horizon Power Systems in Utah and chair of the Utah Combined Heat and Power Working Group. Cary Smith of Sandy is a partner at Sound Geothermal Corporation and sits on the board of the International Ground Source Heat Pump Association.