Problem Solving – Combined Heat & Power plant (CHP)
Stephen Law CHP

A client had received a request for the purchase of a gas-fired Combined Heat & Power plant (CHP).  The sale had come to a halt for a number of reasons and I was asked to puzzle out how to put the project back on track?

I met with my client who explained the basics of how a CHP system worked and why the customer wanted it.  In short, the customer was locked-in to an electricity supply contract at a relatively high rate.  Conversely, the customer was paying a reasonable rate for their gas supply contract.

The customer was in manufacturing and was using a significant amount of energy.  Hence, the use of a gas-fired CHP plant to produce both heat and electricity looked like a cost-effective exercise.

My remit was not to put a team together or in any way to install or maintain any proposed CHP system – this would be undertaken by my client.

My remit was as follows:

  • Understanding the technology – my client had a very good technical grasp of the technology, but this needed to be married to an understanding of legislation in order to recoup all potential savings.
  •  The opportunity to sell came from a manufacturer of CHP plant – I was to work out why they had failed to make the sale and had passed it to my client.
  • What were the potential Direct Cost Savings? – I was asked to analyse current and future potential costs of gas and electricity prices.
  • What were the potential Additional Cost Savings? – Government incentives are ever-changing in relation to CHP systems. So I was asked to analyse further benefits relating to Eco Technologies, CHP systems per se, etc.
  • Joining-the-dots – the customer site was based at a Port which meant that one had to analyse any gas/electricity connections to the customer site, the Port site and to the Port’s infrastructure maintenance suppliers. Moreover, to connect self-generated energy to the National Grid, one must also understand how to liaise with the National & Regional networks in order to gain approval for connection.

In short, this was a very complicated project. It involved gaining a deep insight in to the technology alongside analysing and communicating with a myriad of stakeholders. The entire project had to be coordinated on a time-schedule that was linked to acceptance from all parties, with a short window to make agreement to connect to the National Grid.

The entire process took circa 9 months from sitting down with my client, to attending a meeting where my client signed the deal with his customer. My role was completed successfully for my client and I was asked to start on their next project

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