Hybrid Cooling Systems – The Best of Natural Gas and Electric in a Deregulated World
As deregulation and the market forces of supply and demand drive down overall electric costs, these same principles dictate that periods of higher electric use will command higher electric rates. New pricing concepts such as real time pricing (RTP), where rates can vary hourly based on weather and demand, are already pushing electric rates in some areas of the U.S. as high as $3.50/kWh for peak electric usage periods.
Since high demand usually occurs simultaneously with electric cooling load, it follows that operating costs for electric cooling could be significantly higher than alternative equipment options during these periods. Large peak-period energy users, such as chiller plants, are turning to hybrid cooling systems to help manage and control their cost of cooling.