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Micropower Data

Tracking micropower’s progress requires a considerable effort to combine many disparate data sources. One other independent organization—an important global network of renewable energy experts—annually updates its database on renewables.

Until 2006, the World Alliance for Distributed Energy published an annual assessment of cogeneration plus small-scale wind and solar generation. We are unaware of another organization that compiles and publishes both cogeneration and renewables as RMI does. We suspect that, following a 2008 G8 communiqué directing countries to “...adopt instruments and measures to significantly increase the share of combined heat and power in the generation of electricity” and the establishment of a special CHP working group at the International Energy Agency (IEA), better international cogeneration data will become available.

In the U.S., the Energy Information Administration already began tracking industrial and commercial cogeneration in 2008, although an IEA report shows nearly twice as much installed capacity.

Some central-station-oriented organizations, chiefly in the nuclear industry, reject our data out of hand because their databases don’t show much if any micropower. That’s because they’re consulting databases confined to utility-owned or large units or both, and often excluding the newer kinds of renewables.

Looking at the wrong database can be a bet-your-company mistake.