Success Story: Pennsylvania Utilities Encourage Use of CHP

July 26, 2018

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Energy users across the country – from the U.S. Army to the Texas Medical Center and more – are using combined heat and power (CHP) to generate reliable, on-site electric power and thermal energy to meet their needs. The Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission (PUC) is one of the latest organizations to commit to advancing the use of CHP, utilizing technical assistance from the Department of Energy. CHP is a suite of technologies that can use a variety of fuels to generate electricity or power at the point of use, allowing the heat that would normally be lost in the power generation process to be recovered to provide needed heating and/or cooling. It can be deployed quickly, cost-effectively, and with few geographic limitations.

In April, the PUC adopted a policy statement to catalyze the development of CHP technology by establishing a mechanism and guidelines for a coordinated approach to advancing the use of CHP in Pennsylvania. The PUC also established a new CHP working group to encourage the deployment of, and reduce barriers to, CHP initiatives in Pennsylvania. The PUC is uniquely poised to bring together businesses, residents, academics, and electric and natural gas distribution companies to paint a full picture of the opportunities and challenges associated with CHP deployment.

The Department of Energy's Advanced Manufacturing Office provides technical support to the PUC, the Pennsylvania Department of the Environment, and the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development through the Mid-Atlantic CHP Technical Assistance Partnership (CHP TAP). The PUC is also a partner of DOE’s CHP for Resiliency Accelerator program, which was launched to examine barriers to and provide technical assistance for the consideration of CHP solutions by states, communities, and utilities.

Sourcing as little as 1% of Pennsylvania’s electric consumption from CHP systems would reduce the need for Pennsylvania's grid to provide more than 1.4 million megawatt hours (MWh) annually – including 196 MW of peak demand – according to Gearoid Foley, Senior Technical Advisor for the Mid-Atlantic CHP TAP. The integration of new CHP technologies will help ensure affordable, efficient, and reliable energy for end-users in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Additionally, this successful partnership can serve as a model for how other CHP TAPs can collaborate with local and regional utilities to advance CHP.

Visit the Better Buildings Solutions Center to learn more about the CHP TAPs across the United States.