The portfolio of distributed power technologies includes diesel and gas reciprocating engines, gas turbines, fuel cells, solar panels and small wind turbines. Although there is no standard definition, distributed power technologies are less than 100 megawatts (MW) in size—and typically less than 50 MW which is the limit that distribution systems can accommodate at distribution voltages. They are highly flexible and suitable across a range of applications including electric power, mechanical power and propulsion. Distributed power technologies can stand alone, or they can work together within a network of integrated technologies to meet the needs of both large and small energy users.
In 2012, $150 billion was invested in distributed power technologies including gas turbines, reciprocating engines and solar PV in electric, power, mechanical drive and propulsion applications globally. Approximately 142 GW of distributed power capacity was ordered and installed. During the same year, GE estimates that 218 GW of central power capacity was ordered.
By 2020 distributed power will play an even larger role. GE estimates that annual distributed power capacity additions will grow from 142 GW in 2012 to 200 GW in 2020. That’s a 58 GW increase and represents an average annual growth rate of 4.4 percent. During this period, investment in distributed power technologies will rise from $150 billion to $206 billion. As a point of reference, during this same period, global electricity consumption will rise from 20.8 to 26.9 terrawatt-hours (TWh)
Aeroderivatives are also used in electrical power generation due to their ability to be shut down, and handle load changes more quickly than industrial machines. They are also used in the marine industry to reduce weight. The General Electric LM2500, General Electric LM6000, Rolls-Royce RB211 and Rolls-Royce Avon are common models of this type of machine