Briefing on Capitol Hill

Date: 22 May 2013

Energy Efficient Infrastructure for More Resilient Local Economies: The Role of District Energy, CHP, and Microgrids”


On May 8, 2013, the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) held a Congressional briefing in Washington D.C., “Energy Efficient Infrastructure for More Resilient Local Economies: The Role of District Energy, CHP, and Microgrids.” Senator Al Franken (D-Minn.) and members of the International District Energy Association (IDEA) explained how District Energy, Combined Heat and Power (CHP) and Microgrids can make local energy supply more reliable and more resilient in the face of more frequent severe weather events that have caused electricity supply disruptions and serious economic losses.



Speakers (l-r): Senator Al Franken, Robert Thornton, Ted Borer, William DiCroce, Ken Smith, and Mark Spurr.


The briefing provided a technology overview, showcased relevant case studies, reviewed related pending legislation, including The Local Energy Supply & Resiliency Act of 2013 and The Master Limited Partnerships Parity Act, and discussed key policy drivers to accelerate industry growth as called for in Executive Order 13624, Accelerating Investment in Industrial Energy Efficiency.


The speakers-Robert Thornton, President & CEO of IDEA; Ted Borer, Energy Plant Manager at Princeton University; William DiCroce, President of Veolia Energy North America; Ken Smith, President & CEO of District Energy St. Paul; and Mark Spurr, Legislative Director of IDEA and President of FVB Energy Inc.-discussed how facilities served by District Energy, CHP and Microgrids provided critical energy security during Superstorm Sandy, with Princeton University as a case in point. Veolia Energy is recovering waste heat from the Charles River to produce a win/win/win for the Boston economy and environment. Minnesota´s common sense legislation to encourage energy efficiency and reduce waste was also discussed.


District energy systems distribute thermal energy (steam, hot water, and/or chilled water) through a network of underground pipes to multiple buildings in an area, such as a downtown district, college or hospital campus. By aggregating the heating and air conditioning supply for multiple buildings, district energy systems optimize thermal energy efficiency. In addition, they are able to use surplus heat from power plants, industrial processes and local renewable sources that cut emissions, reduce energy consumption and strengthen local economies. Combined heat and power (CHP) refers to facilities that simultaneously generate electricity and useful heat, thereby achieving very high efficiencies that can be more than 80 percent. Microgrids are robust electricity networks that can be operated in parallel with, or independently of, the utility grid. These three technologies complement each other and can be implemented together, optimizing the whole energy system.


 More (audio and presentations) http://www.districtenergy.org/idea-briefing-proceedings/#eesi