US seeks state help to reach CHP goal

With federal funding scarce, US officials plan to promote state action to add 40 GW of new combined heat and power by 2020, speakers said at an industry gathering in Washington, DC. Thursday.

 “There is not going to be another recovery act likely in the near term, no new federal dollars  associated with CHP deployment, likely”, said Katrina Pielli, senior policy advisor at the U.S. Department of Energy. “Let’s try to think about other ways we can really change the current environment for these projects, think of new opportunities to get revenue. Some of this really is focused around state policy”.

Pielli spoke at a two-day annual event held by the US Combined Heat and Power Association, which recently changed its name from US Clean Heat and Power Association.

President Barack Obama set the 40 GW target in an executive order issued in August. A goal and not a mandate, the order has created “an all-hands on deck opportunity” for federal agencies and states to work together,  Pielli said.

Federal CHP advocates said they hope to encourage an increased packaging of CHP as an energy efficiency measure in state energy plans, utility financing innovations, and more partnerships between utilities, energy efficiency service companies and industrials.

The Environmental Protection Agency is developing several tools and resources to assist, according to Susan Wickwire, branch chief at the  U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

For example, the EPA recently made available a new spark spread estimator, an online tool that helps developers compare a facility’s delivered electricity price against what it will  cost the facility to generate power with CHP.

It is possible to reach Obama’s 40 GW target (which will add to the 82 GW of CHP already operating in the US), Pielli said. “But, man, we all have to work hard.”

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