Benefits of Combined Heat and Power

Combined heat and power (CHP) positively impacts the health of local economies and supports national policy goals in a number of ways. Specifically, CHP can:

  • Enhance our energy security by reducing our national energy requirements and help businesses weather energy price volatility and supply disruptions

  • Advance our climate change and environmental goals by reducing emissions of CO2 and other pollutants

  • Improve business competitiveness by increasing energy efficiency and managing costs

  • Increase resiliency of our energy infrastructure by limiting congestion and offsetting transmission losses

    In 2006, the U.S. emitted 5,890 million metric tons (MMT) of carbon dioxide.  This number is projected to rise to 6,851 MMT of carbon dioxide in 2030.  If CHP were to supply 20% of U.S. electricity generating capacity by 2030, the projected increases in carbon dioxide emissions would be cut by 60%.

    CHP can avoid 60% of the potential growth in carbon dioxide emissions between 2006 and 2030.

  • Diversify energy supply by enabling further integration of domestically produced and renewable fuels

  • Improve energy efficiency by capturing heat that is normally wasted.

Through continued research, development, and outreach, DOE and its partners could help to dramatically increase CHP's share of U.S. electricity generating capacity. Recognizing the benefits of CHP and its current underutilization as an energy resource in the United States, the Obama Administration has a goal to achieve 40 gigawatts (GW) of new, cost-effective CHP by 2020. As discussed in the August 2012 DOE and EPA report, Combined Heat and Power: A Clean Energy SolutionPDF, achieving this goal would:

  • Increase total CHP capacity in the United States by 50% in less than a decade
  • Save energy users $10 billion per year compared to current energy use
  • Save 1 quadrillion Btu (Quad) of energy — the equivalent of 1% of all energy use in the United States
  • Reduce emissions by 150 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) annually — equivalent to the emissions from over 25 million cars
  • Result in $40-$80 billion in new capital investment in manufacturing and other U.S. facilities over the next decade