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A major transition is underway in America’s electricity sector as utilities retire coal-fired plants in response to new environmental regulations.
Last week, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) published a white paper, “How to Avoid a Train Wreck: Replacing Old Coal Plants with Energy Efficiency,” which outlines how expanded investments in energy efficiency and combined heat and power (CHP) can help replace lost generation capacity during this transition.
CHP, also known as cogeneration, is the simultaneous generation of electricity and heat from a facility located near the manufacturing base. It is often twice as efficient as older, coal-burning electric utilities.
Perhaps most important, investments in energy efficiency and CHP, when compared with building and updating power plants, would cost ratepayers far less, as ACEEE’s associate director for research R. Neal Elliott told EnergyBoom:
[quote]Modernizing hospitals, college campuses and commercial buildings costs less than building these assets new, so energy efficiency measures, in addition to modernizing production, also enhance the competitiveness of industrial capacity, which in turn creates more jobs, a more stable economic environment, and allows utilities to earn a greater return.[/quote]
As a leader and innovator in industrial energy efficiency, the chemistry industry is urging policymakers to strongly consider ‘demand-side’ approaches, especially energy efficiency and CHP, as they seek cost-effective ways to meet their citizens’ electricity needs. You can read ACC’s full statement on the report here.
Photo via U.S. Department of Energy
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