More than one in ten businesses in the United States and Canada are looking to use distributed energy options, including renewable energy, over the next two years, according to a U.S. survey.MADISON, Wisconsin, US, 2001-10-22 [SolarAccess.com] Business in North America are interested in small-scale onsite applications of electric-generating technology due to concern over power reliability and energy-price volatility, according to the market report from Madison-based Primen. Businesses in five key sectors surveyed identified themselves as ‘strong’ candidates for base-load distributed-energy applications during the next two years. Nearly half of the same firms say they are already actively evaluating DG/DP options, including natural gas reciprocating engines, microturbines and fuel cells. They tend to view the increased power reliability of distributed energy as an even greater benefit to their businesses than cost savings Primen says the high levels of interest in DG/DP exceeded expectations, and reflects increasingly proactive efforts in the business community to find alternatives that address high electricity prices and power reliability problems. Most surprising were the high numbers of companies that are vigorously exploring various technology options for base-load applications, when they were barely interested only two years ago. Experience with deregulation has made companies skeptical that retail competition will lower energy costs. The survey found that the strongest candidates are in California, where retail competition has had problems. Businesses in states and provinces of Canada that just entering retail competition are among the least likely candidates for DG/DP. The study calls itself a comprehensive examination of the emerging distributed energy market for grid-alternative applications. Findings are based on telephone surveys and interviews with 627 companies that consume between 10 kW and 5 MW of electricity, representing a market of more than 400,000 firms in North America.