Ohio may include CHP and waste heat as renewable energy

A comprehensive energy bill that would expand the definition of clean energy sources is wending its way through the Ohio legislature.

Combined heat and power (CHP), also known as cogeneration, and waste heat from industrial processes would be qualified as renewable resources and be given equal footing with traditional green energy sources like wind and solar.

A comprehensive energy package unveiled by Republican Gov. John Kasich would do much more than address renewable energy, but its clean energy proposals have gotten mixed reviews in the state.

Kasich’s 10-point energy plan unveiled in March deals with oil and gas, hydrofracturing, energy efficiency and green jobs training as well. Ohio has shale gas deposits that have preoccupied most energy discussions of late.

As currently conceived, the hydrofracturing proposals would require drillers in the Utica shale gas formation to identify the chemicals used in the extraction process. Lots of heat has been generated by provisions to tax oil and gas producers while using that money to reduce personal income tax rates.

The proposals are contained in SB 315, which is now the subject of senate hearings.

Tony Straquadine, representing the Heat is Power Association, testified before the Senate Environment Committee on April 25. The association is a Washington D.C. based coalition that promotes using waste heat from industrial processes for power generation.

It pointed out that waste heat is recognized as clean energy by the renewable portfolio standards in 11 states.

“By capturing waste heat from existing industrial facilities, Ohio manufacturers can vastly increase productivity while reducing both costs and pollution. This pollution-reducing solution, in fact, will increase electric production while eliminating emissions – all from industrial heat source s that are already in place and operational,” Straquadine said.

He is also manager of government relations for Alliance Pipeline, a Canadian natural gas pipeline operator that has lies running from British Columbia to the Midwest, and NRGreen Power, an operator of waste heat facilities in Saskatchewan. Straquadine said NRGreen is ready to invest in Ohio if the law passes.

But the proposal has driven a wedge between clean energy advocates. With waste heat or CHP included in any standard, the motivation to develop additional wind and solar will be lost, advocates of those technologies say.

Environment Ohio State Policy Advocate Julian Boggs said cogeneration and waste heat are technologies that are worthy of their own incentive.

“If the goal is to make Ohio more energy independent, we can’t do that by pitting under-utilized resources like wind and waste heat against each other in a zero-sum game,” Boggs said. “To be clear: pitting cogeneration against renewable energy is not keeping the programs in place.”

SB 315 allows a waste energy recovery system that was placed into service or retrofitted in 1998 or later to be used to meet the renewable energy requirements.

The state’s 25% advanced energy portfolio standard, adopted in 2008, last year survived a repeal attempt in the Ohio Senate.

The standard calls for 12.5% from renewables and 12.5% from nuclear and fuel cells by 2025.