expertise \ distributed generation

Combining analysis of evolving market, regulatory, technological and
environmental practice and their effects on the future of distributed generation

For the better part of the last century, economies of scale in electricity generation led to rapid increases both in the size of generating facilities and in their distance from intended loads. Yet since its peak in the mid to late 1970s, plant size has declined dramatically, to levels not seen since just after World War II.

The reasons behind this sudden decline in generation size - and concommitant increase in smaller-scale units - are multifaceted, touching on a number of key changes to market conditions. These include technological change, including breakthroughs in gas turbine technology (and to a lesser extent renewable energy technologies); regulatory change, in particular the opening of markets to competitive forces; and changes in fundamental economic and environmental drivers. As the convergence of these forces points to new opportunities, unprecedented capital has flown to R&D and commercialization efforts, further increasing the speed of technological innovation and market transformation.

At the Helios Centre, we track each of these changes and their effects on the advent of distributed generation technologies. We further examine such issues as:

The Centre is excited by the prospects for distributed generation and the very real opportunities for long-term, large-scale transformation of the stationary (and to some extent mobile) energy sector. At the same time, the Centre adopts a conservative philosophy in which equal attention is paid to the promises and pitfalls of these technologies, as well as to barriers to their continued market penetration. It is this combination of farsighted thinking and practical analysis that is the hallmark of the Centre's approach to the new and unique challenges posed by the advent of modular, efficient and small-scale generation technologies.

The Centre is proud of the recognition it has received for its work in this field. Notable are the numerous invitations to speak to this topic at leading energy industry conferences, including most recently those of the Canadian Energy Institute, the Canadian Electricity Association and the Canadian Gas Association.

To view examples of the type of work we do in this field, please go to Accomplishments / Sample Projects on the menu to the left. To download our publications, please choose Publications.