After posting my comments this morning about Amory Lovins and his math manipulations, I got to thinking about the language gymnastics involved in the way that he defines “micropower”. By my dictionary, micro means small – specifically it is the prefix that stands for one millionth in the metric system. Here is how Amory Lovins defines “micropower”:
There are two kinds of micropower. One is co-gen and combined heat and power. That was about two-thirds of the new capacity and three-quarters of the new electricity last year.
In case you are not familiar with co-gen or combined heat and power, here are some example projects that have been in the news recently.
- ConocoPhillips to Expand Europe’s Largest Combined Heat and Power Station
- October 20, 2006 – HOUSTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–ConocoPhillips [NYSE:COP] today announced the approval of an investment of approximately $400 million (GBP 210 million) to expand the capacity at its Immingham Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plant in the United Kingdom by 450 Megawatts (MW), from 730 MW to 1,180 MW. This expansion would make Immingham CHP one of the world’s largest and most efficient power stations and an additional source of low carbon heat and power for the UK. Commercial operation of the expansion is currently expected to start in the summer of 2009.
- Combined Heat and Power (CHP) Plant to be Built by Statoil at Mongstad
- October 12, 2006 – A combined heat and power (CHP) plant is to be built by Statoil at Mongstad near Bergen following the receipt of a carbon dioxide emission permit from Norway’s Ministry of the Environment.
The group has already secured a licence from the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate to build this facility at the site, where it has a refinery and crude oil terminal.
Statoil has also concluded an agreement with the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy on developing solutions for future carbon capture.
Under this deal, the government accepts the principal responsibility for meeting the cost of capturing, transporting and storing carbon dioxide.
(several paragraphs later)Fuelled by surplus gas from the refinery and natural gas from Troll in the North Sea, the CHP plant will provide 350 megawatts of heat for use in the refinery and 280 MW of electricity.
- AltX novice Ipsa to raise R5.8bn for power plants
- October 20, 2006 – Durban – Independent Power Southern Africa (Ipsa) plans to raise about R5.8 billion in project finance from local and UK investors, the bulk of which will fund a 1 600 megawatt power plant at the Coega industrial development zone.
(several paragraphs later)Ipsa’s gas-fired combined heat power plant in Newcastle, which will supply steam and electricity to synthetic rubber producer Karbochem, will be operational in December.
So, in the past couple of weeks, there have been announcements by three large companies about three projects with capacities in the 280-1600 MW range, all of which qualify under Amory Lovins’s definition of “micro”.