Feasibility studies are underway for a combined heat and power (CHP) district heating scheme in the town of Ithaca in New York State.
Energize Ithaca aims to set up a 12 MW gas-fired ‘downtown heating district’ which will supply residents with electricity and hot water, which can be used both for heating and to drive air conditioning.
After completion of the feasibility study, due in six to eight years, construction of the CHP plant will go ahead after necessary documents and request for proposals (RFP) have been filed, according to a report in the Ithaca Times.
Under the cogeneration scheme, a gas-fired turbine would be based in the Center Ithaca, a complex of shops, offices and rental apartments in the town’s centre, which would form the first node of the heating district.
Excess heat would also supply the Commons, a two-block pedestrianised area currently being revamped by the city authorities.
Herbert Dwyer of ASI Energy told the newspaper that the scheme would cut residents’ bills and enhance security of supply.
‘When Sandy happened, devastating downtown in New York City, the downtown heating district still had electricity.’
Although the US is estimated to have about 6000 district energy systems, the potential for district heating and cooling is far less developed here than in regions such as Scandinavia. Schemes in the US also tend to focus on applications such as colleges and hospitals.