Combined heat and power is a proven win-win for reducing costs and emissions while providing a secure, reliable, and resilient energy supplies in congested power markets and in the wake of power grid failures. These features can be especially important for critical infrastructure such as hospitals, water supply and waste water treatment facilities, nursing homes, emergency centers, and other facilities for which the loss of thermal and electric power would cause significant economic harm or undermine public health or safety. This week, EESI hosted a briefing and released a Fact Sheet on related topics.

At the May 22 EESI briefing, How Combined Heat and Power Saves Money, Reduces Emissions, and Improves Energy Security, Anne Hampson, Senior Associate, ICF International, provided an introductory overview of combined heat and power (CHP). Susan Wickwire, Chief, Energy Supply and Industry Branch, Climate Protection Partnerships Division, U.S. EPA, spoke about EPA and other interagency initiatives to advance CHP and to help overcome some key challenges for developers. Tom Bourgeois, Deputy Director, Pace Energy and Climate Center, Pace University, described recent developments in the Northeast, the resilient performance of CHP facilities in the wake of recent extreme weather, and the future potential of CHP development in the region. Robert Araujo, Manager for Sustainable Development and Environment, Health and Safety, Sikorsky Helicopter, described Sikorsky’s experience developing a CHP system for their facility in Connecticut and the way it performed in the aftermath of recent extreme weather events including Hurricane Sandy. And, Dale Louda, Executive Director, CHP Association, summed up the multiple benefits of CHP for business, industry, critical infrastructure, and the nation as a whole.

You can watch the briefing and access links to related reports and copies of the PowerPoint presentations at EESI’s web site .

In addition, EESI released a Fact Sheet, "Combined Heat and Power: Pathway to Lower Energy Costs, Reduced Emissions, Secure and Resilient Energy Supply," which provides an overview of the key benefits of CHP, the future potential of CHP in the United States, some of the barriers, and state and federal policy approaches to advancing CHP.

The Fact Sheet also features a brief overview of CHP systems that run on renewable biomass. When biomass is produced sustainably, biomass-fueled CHP systems can produce heat and power with very few net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions on a life cycle basis, and thus can be much more climate-friendly than systems fueled with fossil natural gas, coal, or oil. By substituting renewable biomass for fossil fuel, carbon emissions from non-renewable, finite fossil fuels can be avoided. Further, because almost all of the biomass used for biomass CHP today is derived from forestry or agricultural residues or urban and agricultural waste streams, significant additional emissions of climate-changing methane, which would otherwise be released to the atmosphere, are avoided. This combination of emission-reducing components can actually make some biomass CHP systems net carbon negative on a life cycle basis.

For links to previous SBFF posts on biomass CHP, see these:
Can Renewable Biomass Combined Heat and Power Replace Coal Power? (October 11, 2012)
White House Calls for Boosting Combined Heat and Power: Biomass Can Help (August 31, 2012)
More Biomass Combined Heat and Power Projects (January 26, 2012)
Biomass Combined Heat and Power: A Smart Long Term Investment? (January 19, 2012)