THE SOURCE - Winter 2015 - (Page 14)

feature Gas Heat Pumps: Is the Timing Right? There is increased interest in emerging technologies in the commercial gas cooling market, yet some market hurdles remain C By Rodney Dill, Municipal Gas Authority of Georgia ommercial natural gas heat pumps have faced several challenges to market adoption over the past 20 years including higher upfront costs, additional maintenance, limited regional service and sales capability, lack of familiarity, and even higher operating costs during certain periods. Yet there is increasing momentum and driving interest in this technology today due to cost savings, new electric demand-side management initiatives, and energy efficiency opportunities. The main contributing factor for the increased interest is cost savings due to the low natural gas prices. Natural gas heat pumps (GHP) offer cost savings in monthly and annual operating costs, peak electric demand, and water usage when compared to chiller HVAC systems. Increasing electricity prices and declining natural gas prices are creating the market opportunity for commercial gas cooling and GHPs. According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), over the past 10 years, electricity kilowatthour (Kwh) rates in the commercial sector have increased nationally at a steady pace. In 2005, the average commercial electricity retail price was $0.0867 per Kwh. The average price climbed to $0.102 per Kwh in 2010 and $0.108 per Kwh in 2014. EIA projects this price will continue to increase in the commercial sector to over $0.11 per Kwh in 2016. In contrast, natural gas retail prices in the commercial sector have declined at a steady pace over the same time period. In 2005, the average commercial natural gas retail price in the U.S. was $11.34 per thousand cubic feet (Mcf). The average price declined to $9.47 per Mcf in 2010 and 14 THE SOURCE | THE vOiCE and CHOiCE Of pUbliC gaS $8.90 in 2014. EIA projects the commercial price to decline even further in 2016 to $8.24 per Mcf. These continuing retail price trends are creating potential growth opportunities for emerging natural gas technologies such as natural gas cooling, combined heat and power (CHP), and distributed generation. Two manufacturers offering GHP products are IntelliChoice, LLC (ICE) and YANMAR Energy Systems. In THE SOURCE Winter 2014 edition, three APGA member ICE projects were featured. In one feature, the City of Dublin, Ga., installed one 15ton NextAire unit at its city hall in April 2014. This historic building utilizes over 30 tons of cooling and now has a section of the building where heating and cooling are delivered by the NextAire GHP. The City of Statesboro, Ga., also installed one 15-ton NextAire unit at a renovated city fire station in August 2014. Okaloosa Gas District in Valparaiso, Fla., installed two 15ton NextAire units in its corporate office in 2012. Reports from all of these installations are showing substantial energy savings and exceptional comfort performance. Although there are over 700,000 GHP units installed worldwide, the United States has only a fraction of these installations. YANMAR Energy Systems announced its first commercial GHP system installation in the U.S. in July 2015.

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of THE SOURCE - Winter 2015

UP-TO-DATE: APGA helps readers keep current on public natural gas industry issues
APGA Events
First Person
Where Do APGA’s Furnace Rule Comments Stand Today?
Natural Gas Heat Pumps: Is the Timing Right?
Natural Gas Outlook for Winter 2015-2016
Pipeline to New Markets
Remember to Move Over
Legislative Outlook
The Launch of the APGA Community
The Pipeline
Marketing Matters
Advertisers’ Index/
At Last

THE SOURCE - Winter 2015