Combined Heat & Power Energy

Combined heat and power (CHP) refers to the simultaneous generation of electricity or mechanical power and useful thermal energy for heating and/or cooling applications, from a single fuel source. Other terms used for CHP include cogeneration and combined cooling, heat, and power (CCHP), a term used to emphasize the low temperature application of the system such as for chilling or air conditioning. Cogeneration facilities offer potentially significant improvements in energy efficiency relative to separate systems of generating power and heat. CHP can operate at efficiency levels reported as high as 80 percent, as compared with a typical combined efficiency of 45 percent from separate production of heat and power. CHP also reduces greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and improves reliability, power quality, economic viability, and competitiveness of power generation.

Additionally, the Scoping Plan under Assembly Bill (AB) 32 emphasizes the increased reliance on CHP facilities as a principal strategy for reducing GHG emissions and further requires installation of 4,000 megawatts (MW) of additional CHP capacity within California by 2020. The objective of the Advanced Renewable and Fuel-Flexible Combined Heat and Power program within the PIER renewables program area is to conduct public interest energy research that seeks to develop and help bring to market energy technologies that provide increased environmental benefits, greater system reliability, and lower system cost for communities and utilities across the state.