Factors are Favorable for a Rise in Smaller CHP Plants

by | Mar 26, 2015

CHP Energy ManageWhile 86 percent of installed combined heat and power (CHP) capacity in the United States serves large industrial and manufacturing sites, the days of new CHP plant installations at large sites are slowing down, according to Cogeneration & Onsite Power Production.

CHP plant installations were at an all-time high of 6-7 GW in 2001 and 2002, but in 2012, there was just 1 GW of installed capacity, and over the last couple of years, CHP installation rates have risen only slightly.

In recent years, most of the installed plants have been smaller-scale units serving the commercial sector. Almost 25 percent of installed CHP capacity powers district heating and cooling systems for cities and campuses.

Last month, Tecogen sold two Ultra CM-75 combined CHP units to Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) for its Gateway and Life Sciences Building and Campus Center. Last year, the University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health Medical Center built a CHP plant on site at its medical campus in Bel Air, Maryland.

Federal policies may help to spur an uptick in US CHP plant installations. President Obama has targeted an additional 40 GW of CHP capacity by 2020. Low gas prices and plentiful supplies also work in favor of future CHP installations.

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