CHP remains underutilized. In recent years, technology improvements have diversified commercial and industrial applications for onsite CHP generation systems, creating demand for smaller-scale CHP solutions and new opportunities for residential CHP.
CHP’s potential as a clean energy resource is much greater than recent market trends indicate. The emergence of distributed generation (DG) has accelerated the decommissioning of large centralized power plants and the installation of smaller, more flexible, less carbon-intensive generation sources. Fuel-based distributed generation resources, such as CHP systems, are critical because they improve the overall efficiency of thermal energy and electricity production. And yet, the CHP market is heavily dependent on regulatory policies, regional utility investments and interconnection standards, and fuel pricing forecasts.
Despite this dependence, increasing political and utility industry focus on the sustainability of the electric grid will continue to drive the growth of CHP as a clean, reliable, cost-effective distributed energy resource. Growth trends are apparent in specific industries including commercial office buildings, colleges/universities, hospitals, and states where variables such as load profiles, spark spreads, and existing infrastructure are optimal for fuel-based DG solutions.
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