Combined Heat and Power

The Southwest Energy Efficiency Project supports increased adoption of combined heat and power (CHP) in the Southwest region through our work on state and utility policies. This includes supporting state-wide CHP interconnection standards and reasonable standby rates for CHP. We also support state or utility incentives for CHP, and encourage states to support CHP in their compliance plans under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Power Plan.

Combined heat and power (CHP) is a highly efficient method of providing power and useful thermal energy (heating or cooling) at the point of use with a single fuel source. By employing waste heat recovery technology to capture a significant portion of the heat created as a by-product of fuel use, CHP systems typically achieve total system efficiencies of 60 to 80 percent. An industrial or commercial entity can use CHP to produce electricity and thermal energy instead of obtaining electricity from the grid and producing thermal energy in an on-site furnace or boiler. In this way, CHP can provide significant energy efficiency, cost savings, and environmental benefits compared to the combination of grid-supplied electricity and on-site boiler use.

Benefits of CHP for businesses include:

  • Cost savings

  • Improved energy cost stability and predictability

  • Reduced emissions

  • Improved reliability, power quality, and business continuity in the event of power outages

  • Energy independence

Many industries and sectors in the southwestern states can benefit from CHP, including food processing, paper mills, refineries, chemical plants, primary metals, and other large users of energy. CHP also works well for commercial and public-sector buildings—or groups of buildings—such as college campuses, urban developments, military bases, and hospitals.

* Please note that SWEEP no longer runs and manages the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Southwest Combined Heat and Power Technical Assistance Partnership (CHP TAP). The Southwest CHP TAP is now managed by the Houston Advanced Research Center (HARC). For more information, please visit

Contact Us

For more information about SWEEP's work on CHP, contact:

Neil Kolwey, Senior Associate