The U.S. DOE Southwest CHP Technical Assistance Partnership works in the states of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming, Texas, and Oklahoma. While the numbers of CHP installations in our region is not as high as some other areas of the country, the southwest region nevertheless has a growing number of sites using CHP - and a high potential that still needs to be fully tapped.
CHP installations in our region are concentrated in the industrial sector, although the institutional, commercial, and agricultural market sectors are increasingly becoming adopters of CHP as well.
The southwest region is characterized by relatively low electric rates, due principally to the dominance of coal-fired base-load generation. Natural gas prices are generally in the midrange of other U.S. regions. The combination of relatively low electric prices and rising natural gas prices makes it more difficult for a CHP project to be economic and generate cost savings. Thus, most CHP systems in our region were installed for additional site-specific reasons that additively push the financial analysis into the black. Different for each company, these reasons have included the need for highly-reliable power; the need for a stably-priced energy; corporate policies for independence and self-reliance; replacement of older, inefficient legacy systems; voluntary greenhouse gas emission reduction goals; participation in a utility renewable portfolio program; utility-specific tariff issues; or our fastest growing reason: the availability of a waste fuel or waste heat source.
We are one of seven U.S. DOE Technical Assistance Partnerships across the country.