In a recent letter to the Senate and House, SMACNA, as part of a coalition of businesses, labor and environmental organizations, urged the Senate and House to back the use of Combined Heat and Power (CHP) and Waste Heat to Power (WHP) to enhance U.S. manufacturing competitiveness, increase energy efficiency, and improve the environment. The group supports the Senate’s bipartisan effort to include section 2311 in the Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2016 (S. 2012), and urges the inclusion of this section in the conference report, noting that this provision will improve American manufacturing competitiveness by providing states with model guidance on interconnection and additional utility services that encourage the deployment of CHP and WHP.
The legislative language, which is modified from Senator Shaheen’s Heat Efficiency through Applied Technology (HEAT) Act (S. 1202), will help states develop solutions for meeting growing energy demands efficiently and economically through the use of CHP and WHP technologies. It does so without imposing any mandates or onerous requirements, ensuring that state and local regulators have the opportunity to review the guidance and, should they choose, implement practices that are tailored and in the best interest of their communities.
CHP and WHP provide a clean and efficient source of homegrown energy that can help make U.S. manufacturers more competitive. By generating both heat and electricity with a single fuel source, CHP is significantly more efficient than the conventional separate generation of heat and power. By capturing waste heat from existing industrial processes, WHP can generate additional electricity with no incremental emissions. Combined, these technologies offer significant economic, resiliency, and emission reduction benefits to the nation’s factories, hospitals and universities.
Earlier this year, the Department of Energy (DOE) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found that more than 140 gigawatts of clean and efficient CHP technical potential remains in the commercial and industrial sectors. In 2015, DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory estimated that an additional 15 gigawatts of clean power could be produced using WHP. Many existing regulatory requirements are preventing these technologies from reaching their full potential.
The DOE has long recognized interconnection, standby fees and tariffs, and environmental permitting as areas where procedures could be streamlined to encourage greater CHP and WHP deployment. The HEAT Act begins to tackle some of these barriers. This provision will spur investments in manufacturing competitiveness within both energy intensive industrials such as steel, aluminum, glass, chemical, and other sectors such as food and consumer goods. What’s more, because CHP projects can operate independently of the grid, this legislation will help America’s factories, hospitals, and universities “keep the lights on” during extreme weather events.
By addressing the challenges facing CHP and WHP, Section 2311 will help strengthen local economies and support national energy policy goals.