Rocky Mountain Institute Releases Book

A new book called Small Is Profitable: The Hidden Economic Benefits of Making Electrical Resources the Right Size shows the electric power industry why appropriately sizing (and locating) electrical production can be more profitable than building large, centrally located power plants.

Snowmass, Colorado – September 9, 2002 [] Released last week by Rocky Mountain Institute, the book describes 207 ways in which the size of “electrical resources” – devices that make, save, or store electricity – effects their economic value. It finds that properly considering the economic benefits of distributed (decentralized) electrical resources typically raises their value by a large factor, often as much as tenfold. These gains are realized through improved system planning, utility construction, operation and service quality, and by avoiding societal costs. The increases in value that result can be large enough to make seemingly expensive technologies economically viable-a revolutionary concept for the electricity industry. For example, accounting for these benefits can make the relative cost of grid-interactive photovoltaics competitive with installing a natural-gas-fired power plant, in some applications. Written by a team of energy experts who back up their assertions with years of research, Small Is Profitable introduces its readers to the new opportunities presented by considering these economic benefits. The authors point out that many of the assumptions informing decisions in today’s electrical markets are no longer valid. While the industry still behaves as though generation expenses are the deciding factor in the consumer cost of electricity, transmission and distribution and grid maintenance costs are now in the driver’s seat. This switch has brought with it vast new business opportunities that power suppliers and others in the industry should begin taking advantage of. Steven J. Strong, President of Solar Design Associates, Inc. predicts “this book will shift the electric industry from the hazards of over-centralization toward the new era where distributed generation will rule.”

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