Climate Change-Driven Market Opportunities for Combined-Cycle Gas Turbines
Combined-cycle gas turbine cogeneration technology is currently enjoying wide popularity due to a variety of technological, environmental, and financial performance advantages relative to other technologies, specifically boilers. While the environmental performance advantages of this technology have focused on emissions of regulated air pollutants, such as sulfur oxides and nitrogen oxides, cogeneration also provides superior performance with regard to emissions of greenhouse gases. For the case presented within this paper, application of combined-cycle gas turbines demonstrates a 65% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions relative to traditional methods of generating electricity and steam for industrial use. While no regulatory program currently mandates reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases, the emission reductions do have value and can be traded as a commodity. Failure to account for this value may result in an incomplete financial feasibility analysis when assessing options for either replacement or new capacity applications. As more companies move toward full environmental cost accounting, specifically inclusion of costs associated with emissions of greenhouse gases, there should be even more opportunities for the application of combined-cycle gas turbine cogeneration technology.