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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: September 29, 2021 02:55 PM
From: Senator John DiSanto
To: All Senate members
Subject: Expanding Combined Heat and Power under AEPS
I will soon introduce legislation to expand the capacity limits for Combined Heat and Power (CHP) facilities which are currently eligible for renewable energy certificates under the state’s Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards (AEPS) Act.
This proposal encourages the development of onsite, highly efficient, and lower emission energy production for essential businesses including many manufacturing facilities, higher education institutions and health care systems. Penn State Hershey Medical Center in my district is investing tens of millions of dollars in converting to CHP to realize these efficiency and environmental benefits.  
CHP technology generates electricity and captures the heat that would otherwise be wasted to provide useful thermal energy—such as steam or hot water. CHP also avoids transmission and distribution losses that occur when electricity travels over power lines. Roughly two-thirds of the energy used to produce electricity at power plants is wasted in the form of heat discharged to the atmosphere. Through capturing this wasted heat, CHP systems often achieve total system efficiencies of more than 60 percent while reducing greenhouse gases and other air pollutants.
Currently, less than 10 percent of these facilities across Pennsylvania are eligible for renewable energy certificates because the AEPS statute does not define CHP. Instead, the executive branch, through regulation, arbitrarily limited eligibility to CHP facilities that produce 5 megawatts of power or less. This significantly underrepresents the impacts of CHP and its role as a major player in providing energy self-reliance. Also, including more CHP facilities under AEPS would reduce the costs of Tier II credits, lowering energy costs for ratepayers.
The definition of CHP should be decided through legislative action and this proposal improves the resiliency of our manufacturing sector and health care systems while incentivizing renewable energy sources that produce jobs and economic development for the Commonwealth.
Please join me in cosponsoring this legislation.

Introduced as SB929