Around the world we are seeing the rise of self-generation. Distributed power technologies are more widely available, smaller, more efficient, and less costly today than they were just a decade ago.
The portfolio of distributed power technologies includes diesel and gas reciprocating engines, gas turbines, fuel cells, solar panels, and small wind turbines.
One of the most prominent examples of this is in India. Five of India’s biggest electricity users generate 96 percent of their requirement, according to their annual reports. Reliance Industries, which runs the world’s biggest oil refining complex, produced almost all of the 11.8 million kilowatt hours it used daily.
About $29 billion spent by companies including Tata Motors (owners of Jaguar, Land Rover and Tetley, and more) to quarantine their plants from the national grid, is shielding India’s biggest users of electricity from disruptions. This investment has paid off. On July 31 2012, the state-owned national grid collapsed, knocking out supply to 640 million people.
Tata Motors rose to the highest share price in two weeks on July 31, while Reliance gained 3 percent. In comparison, a similar blackout in North America in 2003 caused losses of as much as $10 billion, according to a study by the U.S. and Canadian governments.
Other developing nations face similar issues. For example, Mexico has the fourth largest underground shale reserves, with its geology similar to the U.S. At present, there are proposals to build 8,800 km of new gas pipelines across the country. New pipelines will improve gas access to over 280 cities and towns across the country. It also has the potential to significantly reduce the cost of energy to these communities.