by Jon Sanders
Director of the Center for Food, Power, and Life, Research Editor | John Locke Foundation
A natural gas energy producer in California is doing that. Bloomberg reports:
Concentric Power raised funds to support $100 million of natural gas-fired generating systems it plans to offer to commercial customers using the same leasing model that companies including Sunrun Inc. and Tesla Inc. use for rooftop solar panels.
Concentric’s goal is to expand its customer base — currently two local food processors — to include everything from chemical plants to data centers. Leasing helped solar companies jumpstart the U.S. rooftop power industry by eliminating most or all of the up-front costs, and Chief Executive Officer Brian Curtis said the model will work with other types of generating systems. …
The solar industry experienced rapid growth earlier this decade after companies began leasing panels to homeowners and selling them power generated from their rooftops. Concentric Power wants to simulate that model for agricultural and industrial customers. Its cogeneration units have as much as 2.5 megawatts of capacity each and use excess heat to refrigerate buildings and provide other functions. The systems can help big electricity users reduce their reliance on the grid and can also serve as a backup for on-site wind and solar.
Last year saw a major restructuring of North Carolina’s energy policy, including a section on third-party sales and net metering.
While generally supportive of it because it would expand choices for energy customers, I pointed out an unnecessary limitation: it was “limited only to solar energy facilities, however.”
Allowing other enterprising producers of energy to offer competitive options for consumers would expand choice, competition, and innovative thinking here. Who knows? There could be localized options for small natural-gas sites or even pig and poultry farms.