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Research and Policy

NYSERDA strives to strengthen the DER marketplace by performing research and driving policy that identify and address barriers to DER technology adoption. Collection and presentation of actual performance data from hundreds of existing systems across New York State reduces the uncertainty for new installations, improving both the technical performance and financial models.

Augmenting the large amount of monitored data, NYSERDA provides technical assistance and outreach to the CHP marketplace. NYSERDA’s outreach contractor, Energy Resource Solutions (ERS), provides building owners and stakeholders with streamlined analysis and technical guidance at no cost to the customer. NYSERDA also holds customer engagement events, such as annual DER conferences and vendor expos.

  • New York State has a significant base of installed CHP, consisting of over 600 sites aggregating to nearly 5,600 MW as of 2017 (U.S. DOE Combined Heat and Power Installation DatabaseLink opens in new window - close new window to return to this page.).

    NYSERDA commissioned a CHP Technical Market Potential study that was published in 2002. This study considered the applicability of CHP to a single-owner site, and did not consider the impacts of economics or site-specific physical footprint limitations, nor did it consider aggregating disparate sites into a community microgrid. It also ignored the potential for CHP sized smaller than 50 kW.

    The methodology was chosen to address the question “If CHP systems were sized to meet the thermal needs of good electric-and-thermal-load candidate sites with system downsizing where applicable so as to avoid the possible production of exportable surplus power, how much electricity would that provide?”

    It considered sectors that are known to generally have good electric-to-thermal load profiles. This included fourteen different industrial sectors such as food, paper, and chemical manufacturing, as well as seventeen commercial/institutional sectors such as hotels, hospitals, schools, apartment buildings, and commercial office buildings.

    An additional 26,000 sites were found to be candidates for CHP, representing in aggregate nearly 8,500 MW of technical potential for new CHP. Although this study is now dated, the order of magnitude of technical potential that it determined has been reaffirmed through more recent studies (NYSERDA 2014, U.S. DOE 2016). The granularity of the 2002 study by sector, by system size, and by location (utility territory) also remains informative.

    These various market potential studies each raise an important insight into the remaining opportunities for new CHP in New York State, namely, that unlike previously-installed CHP which included numerous jumbo-sized projects the remaining opportunities are predominantly small-to-mid-sized projects. The U.S. DOE has confirmed that this trend is also being observed across the entire US, where approximately 99,000 MW of remaining technical potential is sized 10 MW or smaller (this is approximately 70% of the remaining 141,311 MW of technical potential).

    Application 50 – <500 kW 500 kW – <1 MW 1 – <5 MW 5 – <10 MW 10 – <20 MW ≥20 MW Total
    CHP Technical Potential in New York State (MW). Source: U.S. DOE, CHP Technical Potential in the US, March 2016.
    Industrial 6,281 4,341 15,567 9,064 7,971 22,157 65,381
    Commercial 20,068 18,100 20,284 5,504 3,948 8,026 75,930
    Total 26,349 22,441 35,851 14,568 11,919 30,183 141,311
  • CHP has a proven track record for being clean, efficient, cost-effective, and reliable/resilient.

    New York State has long-championed policy and programmatic support for CHP, through various mechanisms such as incentive programs administered by NYSERDA, and utility obligations imposed by NYSPSC such as adherence to Standard Interconnection Requirements and discounted Distributed Generation Natural Gas delivery rates.

    New York’s Governor Andrew M. Cuomo issued Executive Order No. 166 on June 1, 2017, which declares Redoubling New York’s Fight Against The Economic And Environmental Threats Posed By Climate Change And Affirming The Goals Of The Paris Climate Agreement. Executive Order No. 166 embraces “high efficiency combined heat and power projects.”

    The U.S. EPA has analyzed the portfolio of CHP projects supported by NYSERDA, and determined the extensiveness by which these CHP projects have reduced carbon emissions.

    During SuperStorm Sandy, CHP systems continued to function and provided vital heat and power to numerous sites which had lost electric utility grid power. In the aftermath of SuperStorm Sandy, U.S. DOE/HUD/U.S. EPA co-authored a report which documented the applicability of using CHP for enhancing reliability and resiliency in buildings.

    The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and The Pew Charitable Trusts have each published documents that support the deployment of clean and efficient CHP (NRDC 2013, Pew 2015).