Considering CHP under the EPA’s Clean Power Plan

CHP, combined heat and power, is a way of creating efficient energy and power from one single fuel source. Located on­-site, it provides both environmental advantages and financial benefits. CHP creates an enhanced portfolio, gives a financial payback within five years, and uses new and improving sustainable technology that reduces that rate of carbon emissions. It also provides reliability and safety during times of power outages, and avoids transmission and distribution losses.

With the rise in demand for cheaper, cleaner, and greener energy, the U.S. has been searching for technologies and systems that will not only be financially beneficial to users, but also helpful to the environment by being able to cut out some carbon emissions. Now, the EPA is making a place for CHP in its proposed Clean Power Plan, which establishes state­-specific targets to bring down carbon emissions from existing power plants. This plan encourages and gives permission to many states, who don't have any CHP systems yet, the right to use CHP as a way of reducing carbon and greenhouse gases (GHG). Additionally, The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) is assisting the EPA to ensure that CHP is now an included option within its Clean Power Plan, and has a new guide to allow states to claim emission reductions that come from using CHP.

According to the ACEEE, there are still not enough CHP users in the U.S.; CHP should be utilized more because it can save 70 terawatts of electricity by 2030, and save almost 50 million tons of GHG nationwide. Furthermore, under the Clean Power Plan, users can receive credit for CHP capacity, an additional benefit to the already good investment. The EPA CHP Partnership makes installing CHP rewarding, both for the users and for the nation's environmental gains.

Even with other large­-scale renewable energy sources (wind, solar, thermal, etc.) that are attempting to meet climate goals, the CHP is still gaining popularity with the EPA under its Green Power Partnership. By the end of 2020,  the Partnership has a goal of doubling the amount of on­-site renewable sources, including CHP, nationwide in order to support the Climate Action Plan set by President Obama in 2013. Currently, Wal­-Mart (generated 160 GWh, 8% of its total electricity use), Apple (110 GWh, 17% respectively), and the Department of Energy (110 GWh, 2%, respectively) are the biggest supporters and users of on­-site renewable energy sources, many of which include CHP as well as solar and wind technologies. Other big companies, such as BMW and General Motors, as well as commonplace buildings (i.e. hotels, senior care homes, etc.) are also in the lead for using the most CHP.

The EPA has been encouraging states to look into investing in CHP; CHP can be used to accumulate points under the U.S. green building certification program: Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). The efficiency and many financial benefits of CHP greatly contribute to a user's ability to earn points with LEED. Overall, CHP is a growing and improving system that is bound to both save users money as well as contribute to making the nation a more environmentally friendly place.

  • Will CHP work in your building inventory?
  • Why has CHP increased in popularity within the last couple of years?
  • How can companies make the transition to CHP easier?
  • How can cogeneration increase LEED points in your project?
  • What are the financial benefits of switching to CHP?

To learn more about WinWerks’ cogeneration  project development or cogeneration technology options, please visit: www.winwerksipd.com.