Every year, more energy is lost as wasted heat in power generation in the US than the total annual energy use of Japan. But the use of combined heat and power technology, can cut wasted energy nearly in half, according to a Department of Energy blog post.
This fact ranks at number nine on the Energy Department’s post titled Top 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Combined Heat and Power.
The number one fact: During and after Hurricane Sandy, CHP systems played a key role in enabling hospitals, universities, schools and residential buildings to continue operations when the electricity grid went down in the hardest-hit localities. This proves, the Energy Departmant says, that CHP is a “sound choice” in making our energy infrastructure more resilient in the face of extreme weather events.
The Top 10 also mentions, at number two, that since 2003 the Energy Department has been working to grow the CHP market through technical assistance partnerships – most recently with seven new projects that will operate regionally and collectively across the US. Between 2009 and 2012 the partnerships have provided technical support to more than 440 CHP projects, the post says.
At number three, the Department points out that President Obama last year set a goal of 40 GW of new CHP by the end of 2020. Meeting this goal would save American manufacturers and companies $10 billion each year in energy costs, result in $40 to $80 billion in new capital investment in plants and facilities that would create American jobs, and reduce carbon pollution by 150 million metric tons, the Department says.
In July, the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy argued that CHP’s system-wide benefits are not well understood in the United States and that the business models of utilities are actually a disincentive for CHP. If utilities could better understand and value the benefits of CHP to their systems as a whole, they could stimulate tremendous growth in the technology, offering their customers lower cost energy and improved system resiliency, all while reducing harmful emissions.