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Major Revenue Growth Ahead for Distributed Power

Major Revenue Growth Ahead for Distributed Power

Small scale power generation revenues are poised for growth, according to a new study by Business Communications Co. Revenues were estimated at $4.2 billion in 1998 and are expected to grow at an average annual rate of 32.1% to pass $16 billion in 2003.

The fuel cell market is expected to grow the fastest, from $305 million in 1996 to $1,094 million by 2003, averaging an annual growth rate of 29.1% over the period. A nonexistent market in 1998, microturbine technology is expected to gross $8,500 million by 2003, contributing as much as 50% to the total small-scale power sector.

The study found baseload generation currently relies on coal, nuclear and natural gas-fired technologies. However, coal and nuclear stem turbines will decline from their present levels over the next two decades. By 2003, it is estimated that about 55 GW of new generating capacity will be installed in the United States, more than 200 GW will be installed in world markets, and a significant portion of these capacities will be in the form of small-scale power systems in distributed energy applications.

Small-scale systems are set to play a major role in the deregulated power industry. Large-scale plants will compete in the baseload power generation market, while small-scale power systems will penetrate the distributed power market. Over the next decade, nuclear power plants will be decommissioned, and increasingly stringent environmental regulations will be enforced. Major utilities will see cost tradeoffs between power grid upgrades and the need for additional central power plants versus distributed generation. Lastly, the trend to small-scale generation systems will continue to grow, spurred by the approaching commercialization of a number of new technologies in generator sets, turbines, microturbines and fuel cells.

The study, titled "Small-Scale Power Generation: How Much, What Kind?" is available from Business Communications Co., Norwalk, CT, for $3,150. For information, call (203)853-4266, Ext. 309.

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