Power Generation Summit sparks interest in new solutions

September 2, 2022 By    

The Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) hosted about 45 propane marketers and power generation equipment manufacturers at its Power Generation Summit, where they explored current and future opportunities featuring propane technologies.

Presentations at the two-day summit in Palm Springs, California, ranged from standby systems to prime power units in residential, commercial and utility-scale markets. The applications included towable, portable power generation solutions, to microgrids, to combined heat and power (CHP). Attendees strategized about how best to enter and serve these emerging markets.

Tucker Perkins, president and CEO of PERC, says the event went as the council had hoped, with propane industry members showing their support and equipment manufacturers reaffirming the industry’s beliefs about power generation.

“It’s the first of many conversations about how the propane industry can now engage in power,” Perkins says. “You’re going to really see us begin to emphasize power – like we did with autogas 10 years ago.”

Chris Robinson, a research director at Lux Research, and Gordon Feller, a global fellow at the Smithsonian Institution’s Wilson Center, spoke about opportunities in technology. The summit also featured presentations on partnerships, resilience and remote solutions, with the majority of the speakers addressing CHP or other technologies.

Joe Calhoun, director of business development at PERC, says the summit proved how the propane industry is positioned to expand into power generation.

“I saw it as an opportunity for our marketers and our OEM partners to meet at the intersection of opportunity and technology,” he says.

“This is the time. We have the technology now.”

Calhoun relates the future of power generation to the consumer process of cutting the television cable cord in favor of newer options.

“I think the [electric] grid becomes the backup of the future and that we and other fuels – and other opportunities, whether it’s solar [or] wind – become the power of tomorrow,” he says.

Calhoun says the next step is for PERC and summit participants to keep the momentum alive in the power generation sector.

“That takes keeping them involved and updated,” he says.

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About the Author:

Brian Richesson is the editor in chief of LP Gas Magazine. Contact him at brichesson@northcoastmedia.net or 216-706-3748.

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