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Five trends that could put combined heat and power on an upswing:


Months before Sandy wreaked havoc on the East Coast, President Obama called for anadditional 40 gigawatts of combined heat and power (CHP) in the U.S. by 2020.

The executive order will leverage existing federal policies and technical assistance to encourage CHP, often referred to as “cogeneration,” but it could be storms like Sandy that will really push the advantages of CHP systems into the mainstream.


Combined heat and power captures waste heat to use as energy. New York University, which installed a cogeneration system a few years ago, became one of the lifelines for displaced neighbors during Superstorm Sandy as the rest of downtown New York was plunged into darkness. (New York University’s midtown medical facility had a far different fate.)

But the threat of superstorms still might not be enough. At a recent clean energy conference in New York City, industry insiders were supportive, yet skeptical, of the goal of adding 40 gigawatts of CHP to the 80 gigawatts already operating in the U.S.

The call for more CHP is ambitious, but here are five reasons why CHP could be gaining ground:

Superstorms. Large institutions like hospitals and universities are all rethinking their infrastructure with the increasing frequency of serious weather events. In the state of New York, a resiliency retrofit fund will provide credit enhancements to fund upgrades in Sandy-affected areas for projects such as CHP.

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