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Decentralised energy supply for industrial enterprises

As a provider of decentralised energy supply solutions, GETEC has been a long-standing partner for the industry. Ensuring an economical, reliable and efficient energy supply has become increasingly challenging in times of the energy transition and reforms in the energy sector. GETEC plans, finances, constructs and operates demand-based energy supply facilities.

Future model of decentralised energy supply

Germany's energy supply landscape, which is characterised by large-scale centralised plants, is currently undergoing a radical change. Due to the weak signals on the electricity market, large, inflexible, non-demand-based energy supply facilities cannot or only insufficiently be operated economically. Due to the feed-in of renewable energies, the power grids in Germany are operating at capacity, which means that high investments in the German power grid are necessary to ensure uninterrupted power supply. The upgrading of the grids has been delayed for years. The decentralised generation of electricity relieves grids on the distribution level. Consumer closeness and flexibility ensure that power generation can be adjusted to the consumption behaviour of the respective consumer. At the same time, using decentralised CHP plants makes highly efficient technology available that significantly contributes to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Energy-intensive industries are thus tasked with ensuring a sustainable supply of process heat and electricity for their production processes.


Flexibility and reliability by means of an appropriate fuel mix

Due to the nature of wind and solar energy, it cannot provide the necessary constant energy supply required for most production and industrial facilities. A well-balanced fuel mix tailored to the needs, location and framework conditions of the consumer thus plays a crucial role in this respect.

In addition to the more traditional fuels such as natural gas, oil and coal, alternative fuels such as biogas, biomass and refuse derived fuels have become increasingly more common on the market in the last decade. Especially due to their lower energy density and limited availability, these fuels are particularly suitable for use in small decentralised heating plants or power stations.


The latest state-of-the-art technology

In the last ten years, the prices of decentralised energy generation plants have dropped by 75%, making them more efficient, reliable and, above all, more suitable for industrial-scale use.

The effective utilisation of the energy bound in the fuel through combined heat and power generation and the reliability of such systems make them particularly attractive. The variety of different technologies available on the market enable the use of various fuels and implementation of different concepts that allow the user to determine the proportions of thermal or electric output. As a result, both the qualitative and quantitative requirements of most industrial energy consumers can be fully fulfilled by decentralised energy generation systems.

The most commonly used solutions for decentralised energy generation are cogeneration plants (CHP), steam turbines and gas turbines combined with a waste heat boiler.

An especially versatile and inexpensive way of supplying energy are CHP plants. They can be easily modified to run on various fuels such as natural gas, biogas, etc. and operate economically with outputs ranging between 100 kilowatts and 10 megawatts. For this reason they are not only suitable for industrial applications, but also a frequently used technology for district heating utilities, municipalities and large properties.

Function of a combined gas and steam turbine plant
Function of a combined gas and steam turbine plant
Function of a combined gas and steam turbine plant

Surcharges and tax benefits

The German Act for Conservation, Modernization and Expansion of Cogeneration (in short, the Cogeneration Act - KWK-G) came into effect on 25.01.2002 and has been updated several times since. This represents the core element in the legally mandated subsidisation of cogeneration plants. It comprises three different subsidisation facilities:

  • Tax reductions on the fuel consumed → Energy tax waiver
  • Temporary bonus payments for the net electricity generated → CHP bonus
  • Special judicial status for energy from CHP processes → Feed-in priority


Advantages and disadvantages of decentralised power generation

Unlike power plants that only generate electricity or heat, decentralised power generation based on highly efficient CHP plants ensure that sparse resources (fuels) are used in an economic and sustainable manner. By generating the electricity close to the end consumer, energy transfer losses caused by long lines are reduced and a more effective output regulation is enabled.

Due to the increased efficiency, decentralised heat and power generation is one way of lowering the environmental impact. (Example: 1 MW of electricity generated by a CHP plant saves about 40% of CO2 compared to conventional methods of generating electricity and heat.)

The possibility to operate CHP plants in standalone operation ensures a continuous, uninterrupted power supply even in the event of a mains failure, thus ensuring greater reliability for the energy consumer.

Decentralised energy supply, especially when combined with a storage system for electrical and thermal energy, represents a concept for future energy markets (load management).

The risks and burdens involved in planning, financing, constructing, operating and maintaining such facilities are more costly for the energy consumer. These burdens can be assigned to a third party (contractor) in the context of a service agreement. This enables the energy user to dedicate the full attention to its core business, while still being able to enjoy the benefits of a state-of-the art, efficient and reliable decentralised power plant.

GETEC – Partners in decentralised energy supply

GETEC has over 20 years of experience in supplying customers with heat and power. After the planning and approval phases, GETEC builds the plants itself and has comprehensive experience not only in construction, but also operation and service of several hundred plants. Companies opting to work with GETEC can benefit from this know-how.

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