CHP, also referred to as cogeneration, has been a common source of power in Europe for a number of years. It now provides about 16% of Germany's power and the country plans to increase its use to 25% within five years. The process involves capturing heat lost in conventional power generation and diverting it to other uses such as heating buildings and water and other applications. As a combined power and heating source, it's very efficient. The American Council for an Energy-Efficient economy says CHP's efficiency can reach a high of about 80%.
While not nearly as common in the U.S. for several reasons, it is making inroads in the country as more jurisdictions and businesses recognize its value in cutting energy costs and reducing emissions. The brief article below illustrates why CHP is an attractive option for the Army, and why it could be one for your city, too. — Doug Peeples
Council Associate Partner Siemens has won a contract to provide, operate and maintain a CHP plant at the Army's Installation Management Command headquarters in Sembach, Germany. The company also will install a building management and control system (BAS).
The project will connect the central hot water facility that includes boilers and the CHP with 54 heating substations to improve hot water distribution while the system generates relatively inexpensive electricity.
By the numbers
The energy saving and cost-cutting benefits Siemens cites for the project are impressive:
- 33% reduction in energy costs
- 26% reduction in carbon emissions
- With the addition of a microgrid in the future, at least some of the base's priority buildings would be energy self-sufficient — drawing no power from the electric grid.
Technically, the agreement Siemens has with the Army is an Energy Savings Performance Contract which are intended to help the government conduct energy conservation projects to cut energy costs. The project, the first for Siemens at a military base outside the U.S., is funded with $24.6 million in energy savings, the company said.
A major step in planning upgrades for your city's energy infrastructure is understanding the dependencies between energy and the other services and systems that make a city work, such as transportation, communications and the built environment. The Energy chapter of the Smart Cities Readiness Guide explains those dependencies and how to accommodate them as well as the benefits of a smart energy program (which include livability and sustainability), interoperability, security, optimizing system management and operations and more.
Doug Peeples is a Portland, Oregon-based writer specializing in technology and energy. Follow @smartccouncil on Twitter.