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Obama Sets National CHP Target

President Obama yesterday signed an executive order that sets a national goal of 40 GW of new combined heat and power (CHP) by the end of 2020. Additionally, the Department of Energy’s Better Buildings, Better Plants program yesterday announced that five companies — Kingspan Insulated Panels, semiconductor manufacturer Cree, General Aluminum Manufacturing Company, PaperWorks and Harbec, a maker of machine tools and injection-molded plastic parts — have signed on, and committed to improving their energy intensity by 25 percent over 10 years.

Partners in the Better Buildings, Better Plants program have already realized at least $80 million in cost savings, according to the DoE. These actions are expected to save about $1 billion cumulatively by 2020.

The executive order intends to accelerate investments in industrial energy efficiency, which could save manufacturers at least $100 billion in energy costs over the next decade, according to the White House. Meeting the President’s 40 GW CHP goal would mean $40 billion to $80 billion of new capital investment in American manufacturing facilities. But the White House says investments in industrial energy efficiency, including CHP, incur as little as half the cost of traditional forms of new baseload power.

Other benefits include reduced nationwide GHG emissions and enhanced grid security.

The executive order directs agencies to hold ongoing regional workshops with information about best practice, policies and investment models, and directs the EPA, along with the Departments of Energy, Commerce and Agriculture, to coordinate actions at the federal level while providing policy and technical assistance to states to promote investments in industrial energy efficiency.

In support of the executive order, DoE and EPA released a report, Combined Heat and Power: A Clean Energy Solution, that discusses ways to achieve 40 GW of new CHP by 2020. Environmental Leader examines that report in greater detail here.

Obama made the announcement on the day that Mitt Romney accepted the Republican Party’s nomination to run against the president in November, and just two days after the White House finalized a rule to require cars and light trucks to achieve 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. Reuters said that as Congress has repeatedly blocked Obama’s efforts to pass energy and climate legislation – including measures to encourage investment in CHP – the administration has turned to its executive agencies as a means of achieving its goals.

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3 thoughts on “Obama Sets National CHP Target

  1. This is a great example of leadership around the triple bottom line (people, planet and profits). I was appalled by Romney’s dirisive and sarcastic remark relative to President Obama’s concern about sea rise and attempts to “heal the planet”, demonstrating complete ignorance and disregard for the impact these will have on millions upon millions of people in the U.S. and around the world, if we do nothing.

  2. To Beth Zonis,
    It is true that CHP systems are generally fueled by natural gas, but they are highly efficient. The idea is to eliminate the need for the extra natural gas that facilities use for heating purposes.

    Additionally, natural gas is growing rapidly as coal shrinks in large centralized power plants. Coal has substantially worse greenhouse gas emissions, and it’s own host of problems related to mining. Fracking is bad, but I would argue that many mining practices are worse. I’m an environmentalist, and I’m very pro CHP due to efficiency, and it not being coal. Though, in the coming decades, expect to see a lot of wind and solar 🙂

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