22 July 2010 – Two US Senators and a Congresswoman have introduced the bi-partisan Thermal Renewable Energy and Efficiency Act, which would offer incentives to increase the use of district energy and CHP systems to heat and cool buildings throughout the country, reports the International District Energy Association (IDEA).
Close to one-third of the total quantity of energy consumed in the US is used for heating and cooling buildings and industrial processes, says IDEA, representing an enormous opportunity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, either through renewable thermal energy sources, CHP or other energy-efficient technologies.
The Thermal Renewable Energy and Efficiency Act would create a renewable thermal energy production tax credit in addition to the existing production tax credit that encourages the generation of electricity using certain renewable resources.
It would also expand tax exempt bonding, which currently helps to finance certain capital costs of district energy systems and piping distribution systems, but which is not available for thermal energy production system components.
The Act would also expand the Department of Energy’s Energy Sustainability and Efficiency Grants for Institutions Program to support larger, more efficient district energy and CHP systems, adds IDEA.
‘America’s energy policy is broken,’ said Act sponsor Congresswoman Betty McCollum. ‘The US has a proven clean, affordable, and secure energy technology that is available today if the federal government would pay attention.
‘The best kept secret in this country is district energy technology, and St Paul’s District Energy facility is a premier example of a system heating and cooling dozens of downtown office buildings. Congress and the Department of Energy need to wake up and start investing in this proven technology that will create clean energy jobs and reduce energy dependence.’