NRG Energy is adding a combined heat and power (CHP) element to the northside district energy system it operates in Pittsburgh, according to the Pennsylvania Business Daily. A spokesperson said that the idea is to create “what is essentially a microgrid” in the existing system.
The story says that NRG will market the system to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, U.S. Steel, Chatham Center, Marriott and Duquesne University. The aim is for the system to be operational by the spring of 2017.
The company also signed a three-year agreement with the Pittsburgh Allegheny County Thermal (PACT) to provide steam as the organization modernizes its district energy system. PACT is a customer owned-coop that powers many large buildings in Pittsburgh, the story says. The new district heating and cooling system will focus on the Lower Hill area of uptown Pittsburgh.
District heating is gaining attention in Europe as well. The European Commission is developing an approach to heating and cooling that could lead to legislative changes. District heating may be a big part of the changes, according to EurActiv.com. The site says that EC district heating infrastructure could be more efficient than other approaches and fulfill 40 percent to 70 percent of demand.