Cogeneration is the process of simultaneously producing steam and electricity. In MEG Energy's operations, the steam is used for SAGD bitumen recovery, while the electricity is used at the plant site, with excess power sold to Alberta's power grid.
Cogeneration technology has several advantages over conventional steam boilers:
- The "energy return on investment" – the amount of useable energy created from the burning of natural gas – is increased, as both bitumen and electricity are produced.
- Electricity produced at the plant site helps to ensure steady and reliable power, reducing the risk of a plant shutdown due to power grid interruptions.
- The sale of excess electricity helps offset production costs.
- The electricity provided to the power grid has a lower carbon footprint than the provincial average, helping to reduce total greenhouse gas emissions.