Improving Power Reliability and Reducing Energy Spend through Combined Heat & Power (CHP)


pic_sins_jack150x180Jack Sins

Unison Energy, LLC

Jack is VP of Business Development for Unison Energy, where he has been working with commercial and industrial clients for 4+ years. Prior to Unison, he was in business development at EnerNOC, working with customers on energy supply contracts, demand response, and other energy efficiency measures. Jack has a BA from Duke University and an MBA from the Amos Tuck School at Dartmouth.

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Improving Power Reliability and Reducing Energy Spend through Combined Heat & Power (CHP)

Hospitals are increasingly looking to reduce their cost structure by implementing energy efficiency measures. Also, in the wake of major storms such as Sandy, hospitals are increasingly concerned about their power reliability and resiliency. Also, hospitals are looking to reduce kWh (usage) and bolster sustainability goals by multiple measures, including carbon footprint reductions.

Combined heat and power (CHP, or cogeneration) is an “old” technology that has seen new life given recent market developments (natural gas market changes, utility support, financing options, improved engine efficiencies, etc.) and increased market focus on on-site, distributed generation.

Hospitals are a natural fit for CHP, given their steady electric and thermal loads. This economics can be especially compelling on the east coast, given grid congestion and high electric rates ($/kWh). CHP, by providing electricity at the location of its use, has total efficiency levels in the 60-80% range, compared to 35-45% using traditional generation and boiler-generated heat.

That said, CHP is complex, costly, and can be time consuming. It is not as simple as LED lighting, for example. There are different solutions, different types of “vendors”, and different types of ownership. It can be a difficult path to navigate, involving decision-making from finance, engineering, facilities, legal, and utility stakeholders.

Increasingly, hospitals considering CHP look to outsource it; that is, contract with a developer/owner which will handle all aspects of the system design, installation, permitting, operation, maintenance, etc. Unison is such a company, with a target geography of the east coast and California.

If possible, I would add to the presentation a “sample” project, showing timeline of the various stages of the project, as well as project economics.