As cities have begun to implement greenhouse gas initiatives, one technology that has become of interest is building level combined heat and power (CHP). In New York City, over two thirds of greenhouse gas emissions are attributed to buildings. As space heating is the major end use of building energy consumption in the Northeast, building level CHP systems have the potential to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions especially since many buildings utilize fuel oil to fire boilers for space heating.
While distributed CHP has potential to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, this statement is quite dependent on the current types and efficiencies of generators used to supply electricity. In New York State, approximately 50% of electricity is produced from nuclear and hydro power plants with the majority of the remainder supplied by simple and combined cycle gas turbines. Only 1% of electricity is supplied by less efficient oil power plants.
In the current work we seek to determine how the emissions benefits of distributed generation change with increasing penetration of CHP systems (up to 1.58 GW of aggregated capacity) considering the current mix of electricity generation capacity in New York State. The analysis indicates while there are emissions reductions for all scenarios the impact reduces on the order of 400 metric tons per MWe.