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State Energy Office receives grant to advance CHP


CHP systems like the one above from Bristol Myers Squibb in Connecticut will hopefully become more commonplace in Minnesota in the coming years. (Photo provided by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory)

A grant of nearly $100,000 to coordinate and execute an action plan to reform Minnesota’s combined heat and power (CHP) regulatory framework and achieve market transformation was awarded on Nov. 26 to the Minnesota Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources (DER). The grant will help DER’s State Energy Office begin a process to help implement more CHP projects throughout the state, especially in the industrial sector.

The grant, titled “Building Momentum for Regulatory Reform and Market Transformation to Increase Combined Heat and Power in Minnesota,” was awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy to advance industrial energy efficiency. Grants totaling $751,000 to eight State Energy Programs (SEP) were awarded for projects to address specific policy, regulatory or market barriers to energy efficiency and CHP technologies. CHP technology captures and reuses heat created during electricity production and other industrial processes—boosting overall building efficiency. Read more about the competitively awarded SEP grants. 

According to Minnesota’s grant proposal, “Over the course of the next two years, the State Energy Office will strategically engage in a stakeholder process to develop an action plan aimed toward reforming Minnesota’s regulatory framework and transforming the market to facilitate greater implementation of CHP projects throughout the state, especially in the industrial sector.”

The Minnesota Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources has taken the initial steps toward increasing implementation of CHP by funding a regulatory framework review and a CHP technical potential study—the results of which will be used as a starting point for work on this grant. Commerce awarded FVB Energy, Inc. of Minneapolis a Conservation Applied Research and Development (CARD) Grant in October to complete this work. These recent events have generated momentum that the proposed grant project will build on through a stakeholder engagement process that results in the creation of clear, concise and actionable items and an action plan that will increase actual implementation of CHP in Minnesota.