Combined Heat and Power Spotlight Projects
by Kaymie Owen, CMP, Communications Manager
Combined Heat and Power (CHP) are systems that combine technologies to maximize energy efficiency and reduce waste. In traditional fossil fuel power plants, two-thirds of the energy used to generate electricity is wasted in the form of heat discharged to the atmosphere as well as through electricity transmission, achieving a combined efficiency of only 33%. By combining electricity generation and waste heat capture, CHP systems can operate at levels as high as 80% efficiency.
CHP in Maryland is an incredibly robust and effective program that delivers tremendous value; and serves as a brilliant example of successful public and private partnerships. To date, 44 businesses, nonprofits and local governments in Maryland have received CHP grants. Our local CHP projects represent over 63 megawatts of new, resilient energy generation within the state.
In 2017, Peninsula Regional Medical Center received a $494,320 CHP grant from the state and Governor Larry Hogan joined us for the dedication. The new CHP system generates approximately 26 million kilowatt hours and provides the medical center with an estimated annual electric cost savings of $415,086. This particular CHP project is yielding natural gas costs savings of around $324,705. The total investment in this project was $6 million and the hospital was able to take advantage of additional Pepco grants as well as fiscal support from corporate partners like the owner/developer Unison Energy, and construction support from Whiting-Turner, Rommel Electric, Joseph M. Zimmer Inc. and Becker Morgan. Altogether, this energy efficiency project will see a payback in just over seven years.
For a hospital like PRMC this project allows them to be “off the grid” to some in the event of weather emergencies or power grid failures. As an added community benefit, PRMC is now using less power so your local utility, Delmarva can allocate more resources for residents on high-demand days of extreme heat or cold. PRMC’s CHP system will offset 81% of the annual energy consumption and cut its carbon footprint drastically, with an annual CO2 reduction of more than 50%, using natural gas supplied by Chesapeake Utilities.
Maryland is in no short supply of CHP success stories. In October of 2018, Montgomery County celebrated the opening of their advanced microgrid which incorporates CHP and solar and will improve the resiliency of government operations, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, upgrade existing aging electric infrastructure without capital expenditure and control energy costs. This project was partially funded for nearly $500,000 dollars from state energy grants. To read more about this program, click here.
CHP has proven so popular that we have just introduced a new MICRO-CHP segment of the grant for 60 kilowatt or less sized projects. We are eager to see who will be the first to take advantage of the MICRO-CHP grant and defray up to 50% of the total project cost.