The workshop, hosted by the Canadian Gas Association and facilitated by Alberta-based C3, engaged representatives from provincial and municipal governments, utilities, technology providers and developers in Alberta. The participants were tasked with identifying barriers, recommending solutions, and offering an action plan that would allow CHP to advance in "MUSH" (municipal, university, schools and hospitals) and the small industrial sectors.
"At a time when electricity prices continue to climb across the country, it is important to look at any opportunity to better utilize natural gas and the natural gas delivery infrastructure to ensure access to clean and affordable energy," said Timothy M. Egan, CGA president. "CHP is a technology that delivers electricity and heat, maximizes system efficiency, reduces environmental impacts, and keeps energy affordable."
CHP is the dual use of an engine to generate electricity as well as heat. Advances in this technology allow it to be used at many different scales - from family homes, to commercial buildings, to large scale industrial facilities. Fuelled by natural gas, these units are up to 45 per cent more efficient than conventional power plants, up to 40 per cent less emitting, and provide reliability and security of power supply to the end user.
Despite advantages, CHP technology faces significant barriers for broader use in Alberta and Canada - including a lack of awareness of the technology and its benefits and the absence of clear interconnection process and thermal regulations.
The workshop concluded with a commitment from participants to work on action items to help make CHP a popular and viable option to meet the energy needs of Canadians. The results of the workshop will be presented in a report later this month and will build the foundation for a second CHP workshop to be held in Toronto this fall.