Microturbines get a boost from energy bill

Microturbine technology incentives included in the Energy Bill signed by President Bush in August will help some companies take a second look at this emerging electric resource. Chip Bottone hopes the rewards, like the power, will be self-sustaining for years to come. "We're not in this for the short-term," said Bottone, president of Ingersoll-Rand's Energy Systems business, after the bill was ...

09/01/2005


Microturbine technology incentives included in the Energy Bill signed by President Bush in August will help some companies take a second look at this emerging electric resource. Chip Bottone hopes the rewards, like the power, will be self-sustaining for years to come.

"We're not in this for the short-term," said Bottone, president of Ingersoll-Rand's Energy Systems business, after the bill was signed. "We need to be able to sustain this business without incentives. Tax credits, as long as you don't live off of them, are a good thing. Tax credits will help us get over the hump."

A microturbine is an integrated agreement using a gas turbine engine, a recuperator and a generator. The system converts fuel and heat into electrical and thermal energy. It's especially useful for generating electricity from municipal solid waste and agricultural livestock waste.

The technology was a hot commodity in 2000, but when the energy crisis waned, so did the enthusiasm. With the East Coast Blackout of 2003 and the soaring energy costs, microturbines are gaining renewed interest, and the inclusion of a tax incentive in the Energy Bill signals an important step forward.

"In light of the soaring worldwide demand for energy along with our nation's aging power infrastructure, it is clear that there has never been a greater need for clean, reliable, energy-efficient technologies," said Bottone.

Ingersoll-Rand Energy Systems has installed a number of systems using microturbines, and sees the Energy Bill as a way to move the technology forward at a critical time. Making the financial case is one of the crucial aspects of moving forward.

"We do an audit at the outset, and then go back to show that we can deliver what we promise," Bottone said. "On a commercial or industrial site, the payback is at best 2 to 3 years to maybe an 8 to 9 year payment. And the value derived is not just in the spending. For some companies, it's that they want to be a Green company."

Whether you want to be Green or save green or both, Bottone said some of the realities of the global energy situation make incentives for technology an important part of any energy initiative. "The problem now is, we can't produce, in the way we want, enough power in the right places," he said.



Bill provisions:

Among the provisions of the Energy Bill are:

$14.5 billion in tax breaks over 10 years for renewable energy sources and for energy companies

Requiring utilities to meet reliability standards for the electric transmission grid

Double the production of ethanol, to 7.5 billion gallons

Extending daylight-saving time by four weeks starting in 2007.



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