Natural gas power generation/ combined heat and power (CHP)

Using natural gas to generate electricity is an efficient and cost-effective way to produce power on-site:

  • With a combined heat and power (CHP) system, you can continuously generate both electricity and heat at the same time using one single fuel source—natural gas. The heat produced in the generation of electricity is recaptured and used to generate hot water, steam or building heat. Additionally, because of the low price of natural gas, you can generate electricity for less than the "landed cost" you pay to buy electricity off the electric grid.
  • With a natural gas "peak shaving" generator, Class A electricity customers can run their generator during the five highest peak demand hours in Ontario to "shave" the demand that their facility draws from the grid during those times. This has significant benefits in reducing their global adjustment costs—potentially over $500,000 in global adjustment saved annually per MW "shaved."

Natural gas powered generators have been successfully installed in a wide variety of energy intensive facility types and sizes in Ontario, including district energy systems, wastewater treatment facilities, schools, nursing homes, hospitals and large office buildings. Here are just a few examples:

  • Windsor: Huron Lodge Long Term Care and WFCU Centre, totalling 900 kW for space and water heating; saving $600,000 a year in heating and electricity costs.
  • Hamilton: McMaster University, 5.7MW trigeneration system for space and domestic water heating, and augmented chilled water capacity during the cooling season; saved $4.8 million a year in electricity savings.
  • North Bay: North Bay Regional Health Centre, co-gen for electricity generation, space and water hearing, total of 1.6MW; estimated savings between $300,000 and $400,000 a year.
  • Fergus: Centre Wellington Sportsplex, hybrid emergency and supplemental power generation system and natural gas CHP generator for daily power use, 287kW total.

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Natural gas power generators have a good track record and some installations have been in operation for over 50 years. Solutions are available in a variety of technologies, sized for the needs of the individual application.

When considering natural gas power generation, you will need to understand your current electricity profile, as well as your operational needs for heat. Union Gas energy conservation advisors can help you quickly assess whether you are a good candidate by performing first-cut screening, which will help you gather details such as approximate unit size, estimated costs, savings and payback. We can also help connect you with engineering consultants and equipment suppliers in the market.

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The energy experts at Union Gas can perform a free first-cut screening of your facility to determine if CHP may be a good fit.

Visit our CHP website or contact Union Gas for more information on natural gas power generation.