A Business Case for On-Site Generation: The BD Biosciences Pharmingen Project

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Deregulation is haltingly changing the United States electricity markets. The resulting uncertainty and/or rising energy costs can be hedged by generating electricity on-site and other benefits, such as use of otherwise wasted heat, can be capture d. The Public Utility Regulatory Policy Act (PURPA) of 1978 first invited relatively small-scale generators (≥ 1 MW) into the electricity market. The advent of efficient and reliable small scale and renewable equipment has spurred an industry that has, in recent years, made even smaller (business scale) electricity generation an economically viable option for some consumers. On-site energy capture and/or conversion, know n as distributed energy resources (DER), offers consumers many benefits, such as economic savings and price predictability, improved reliability, control over power quality, and emissions reductions. Despite these benefits, DER adoption can be a daunting move to a customer accustomed to simply paying a monthly utility bill.

San Diego is in many ways an attractive location for DER development: It has high electricity prices typical of California and a moderate climate, i.e. energy loads are consistent throughout the year. Additionally, the price shock to San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E) customers during the summer of 2000 has interested many in alternatives to electricity price vulnerability.

This report examines the business case for DER at the San Diego biotechnology supply company, BD Biosciences Pharmingen, which considered DER for a building with 200- 300 kW base-load, much of which accommodates the refrigerators required to maintain chemicals. Because of the Mediterranean climate of the San Diego area and the high rate of air changes required due to on-site use of chemicals, modest space heating is required throughout the year. Employees work in the building during normal weekday business hours, and daily peak loads are typically about 500 kW.

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