State and Local Policy Database

Efficient Distributed Energy Systems

District energy and combined heat and power (CHP) systems offer opportunities for communities to dramatically decrease the energy used in buildings and energy intensive processes. Buildings served by a district energy system often do not need their own heating and cooling equipment, and instead rely on efficient generation serving larger populations. When combined with CHP, also known as cogeneration, district energy systems can also offer an efficient source of electricity that is highly reliable. While many district energy and CHP systems are privately owned, cities can help foster this infrastructure through policy.

This sub-category includes information on three topics: total megawatts of CHP capacity in the city (from the Combined Heat and Power Installation Database); number of district energy systems which integrate CHP in the city (from IDEA); level of planning undertaken for future district energy systems with CHP.

There are currently no district energy systems in Arlington County, however, the Community Energy Plan calls for the development of 450MW of district energy by 2050.  Additionally, Arlington County has mapped the energy density of the whole community to identify areas for potential district energy systems.

Last updated: May 2017

Atlanta does not have programs and policies to plan for future district energy systems.

Last updated: April 2017

Austin targets redevelopment zones for district energy systems. The two latest systems are in the Domain and Mueller Airport redevelopment areas. Since Austin Energy is municipally owned, the city has helped plan and build all district energy systems in Austin.

Last updated: April 2017

The city's Office of Sustainable Energy has identified water and wastewater treatment plants as high priority sites for combined heat and power (CHP) plants. The city has plans to add 4 MW to a 3 MW CHP system at Back River Wastewater Treatment Plant. The city will also be adding 2 MW to the Patapsco Wastewater Treatment Plant. The city is currently in the design phase of these projects.

Baltimore is administering state grants that are financing the installation of small CHP plants at two large nonprofit buildings serving those with low incomes. Baltimore is also evaluating its government downtown office complex for a district energy system.

Last updated: January 2017

Birmingham does not have programs or policies to plan for future district energy systems.   

Last updated: January 2017

The Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) explored the potential for multi-user microgrids with integrated combined heat and power (CHP) in the 2016 Boston Community Energy Study (BCES) report.  The report identified 42 districts throughout the City with conditions favorable for a multi-user microgrids. The city also has a full-time staff member dedicated to assisting with planning for district energy systems.

Last updated: April 2017

There are no district energy systems in Boulder.  Boulder’s combined heat and power capacity is 114,000 kW, meaning that the CHP capacity per 100,000 residents is 117 MW. 

Last updated: October 2015

Evergreen Energy is planning a CHP project in Burlington. 

Last updated: October 2015

Carrboro does not have district energy systems or combined heat and power facilities.

Last updated: April 2014

We did not find information on any programs or policies to plan for future district energy systems.   

Last updated: January 2017

There is one district energy system in Charlottesville, but we could not locate information on the system’s capacity.  Charlottesville does not have combined heat and power facilities. 

Last updated: October 2015

The city has identified high priority areas for future district energy and combined heat and power (CHP) facilities. Chicago has been actively supporting two microgrid developments with integrated combined heat and power (CHP) facilities in the city. One system is operational and is located at the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT). The second project will be developed by the local electricity utility, Commonwealth Edison, and will be connected to the IIT microgrid.

Last updated: April 2017

We did not find information on any programs or policies to plan for future district energy systems.   

Last updated: January 2017

We did not find information on any programs or policies to plan for future district energy systems.   

Last updated: January 2017

Columbus does not have programs or policies to plan for future district energy systems.

Last updated: April 2017

Dallas does not have programs or policies to plan for future district energy systems.

Last updated: April 2017

The city of Denver has targeted several high priority areas for district energy systems and has provided technical assistance on numerous projects.

Last updated: April 2017

We did not find information on any programs or policies to plan for future district energy systems. 

Last updated: January 2017

There are no district energy systems in Dubuque.  Dubuque’s combined heat and power capacity is 9,000 kW, meaning that the CHP capacity per 100,000 residents is 17 MW. 

Last updated: October 2013

The city may develop a program to integrate combined heat and power (CHP) and/or district energy into the El Paso Housing Authority’s future developments, but El Paso does not currently have programs or policies to plan for future district energy systems.   

Last updated: January 2017

We did not find information on any programs or policies to plan for future district energy systems. 

Last updated: January 2017

Hartford does not have programs or policies to plan for future district energy systems.   

Last updated: January 2017 

We did not find information on any programs or policies to plan for future district energy systems.   

Last updated: January 2017

We did not find information on any programs or policies to plan for future district energy systems.   

Last updated: January 2017

Jacksonville has dedicated city staff for district energy planning and development. Also, the city has identified three high-priority areas for potential new district energy systems. These are the Downtown, Springfield, and Hogan neighborhoods. There are plans to include Everbank Stadium in the downtown chilled water service base.

Last updated: January 2017

We did not find information on any programs or policies to plan for future district energy systems.   

Last updated: April 2017

There is one district energy system in Knoxville, but we could not locate information on the system’s capacities.  Knoxville’s combined heat and power capacity is 5,000 kW, meaning that the CHP capacity per 100,000 residents is 2.8 MW.  None of the district energy systems integrate CHP.

Last updated: October 2013

Downtown Las Vegas and the Las Vegas Medical District have been identified as opportunity areas for district energy or microgrids. There have not been any formal efforts to assist with planning an efficient distributed energy system.

Last updated: January 2017

Lawrence does not have district energy systems or combined heat and power facilities.

Last updated: October 2013

We did not find information on any programs or policies to plan for future district energy systems.   

Last updated: April 2017

We did not find information on any programs or policies to plan for future district energy systems.

Last updated: April 2017

There are four district energy systems serving Madison, but we could not locate information on the systems’ capacities.  Madison’s combined heat and power capacity is 187,600 kW, meaning that the CHP capacity per 100,000 residents is 80.4 MW.  One of the district energy systems integrates with CHP.

Last updated: October 2013

We did not find information on any programs or policies to plan for future district energy systems.

Last updated: January 2017

We did not find information on any programs or policies to plan for future district energy systems.   

Last updated: January 2017

We did not find information on any programs or policies to plan for future district energy systems. 

Last updated: April 2017

The city has identified high-priority areas for potential new district energy systems. The Warehouse District Heritage Street Plan incorporated plans for the use of additional waste heat from the Hennepin Energy Recovery Center to melt snow on roads and sidewalks. The city is also an active partner in Towerside, a plan that envisions using heat from wastewater for buildings in an eco-district.

Last updated: April 2017

While the city has not yet identified high priority areas for district energy or developed building codes, there is a district energy systems advisory committee that meets quarterly to discuss topic.

Last updated: January 2017

The city is currently working with Sandia National Labratory, Entergy New Orleans and the Sewerage and Water Board to conduct feasibility studies for the installation of microgrids in areas of the city identified as important resilience hubs. 

Last updated: April 2017

In September of 2016, the city published the Roadmap to 80 x 50. As part of this analysis, the city assessed the technical potential of a range of distributed energy resources at the block level throughout the five boroughs of New York City. The city also looked at how it could further prioritize district energy solutions based on their ability to provide co-benefits in the areas of energy affordability, heat vulnerability, air quality, and flood risk. The city also led the development of a district heating system and microgrid that serves several public housing properties.

Last updated: April 2017

The city has partnered with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Department of Energy, and NASA to develop an Eco district. The goal of this Eco district will be to build an efficient, block-scale energy/water/wastewater treatment-and-reuse-process prototype that can be applied to neighborhoods across California and the U.S. 

Updated: April 2017 

Oklahoma City does not have programs or policies to plan for future district energy systems

Last updated: January 2017

Orlando has one city employee dedicated to district energy planning and development. The city is also developing a new eco-district.

Last updated: January 2017

CHP planning in Park City is conucted as part of the Georgetown University Energy Prize Assessment. 

Last updated: October 2015

The City of Philadelphia is collaborating with PECO Energy to identify potential sites to pilot smaller-scale distributed battery storage (with generation potential) systems throughout the city.

Last updated: April 2017

The city partnered with NRG Energy in 2001 to develop a downtown cooling loop that would provide 40,000 tonnes of chilled water to the Phoenix Convention Center, baseball stadium and 32 other buildings. The system provides average customer energy savings of approximately 13% and was recognized by the International District Energy Association as the 2008 "System of the Year" for its exemplary performance and service.

The City provides planning assistance for the existing district cooling system in downtown Phoenix as it expands system capacity and geographical reach. The city is also working with local utilities to assist and develop other efficient distributed energy systems and microgrids.    

Last updated: April 2017

Pittsburgh has signed an agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to coordinate on substantially expanding the city’s district energy systems. The city will work with DOE to complete an energy master plan, governance and business case model, and development pathway for district energy systems in multiple neighborhoods throughout the city. The city’s goal is to create one of the largest district energy ecosystems in North America and to use these new investments to increase resilience, reduce consumers’ energy cost burden, and encourage workforce development.

Last updated: April 2017 

The 2015 Climate Action Plan includes a goal to continue to support development and expansion of low-carbon district heating and cooling systems.  Since 2014, one large developer has indicated a district-scale system will be built to serve a multi-block campus expansion. The city also identified an additional development area where district energy may be feasible as part of a 20 year build out.

The city continues to actively provide technical assistance and advice to development projects seeking to incorporate district energy systems. The city continues to coordinate among its various agencies to streamline the process for use of the right-of-way and entering franchise agreements for district energy systems.

Last updated: April 2017 

We did not find information on any programs or policies to plan for future district energy systems. 

Last updated: January 2017 

We did not find information on any programs or policies to plan for future district energy systems.   

Last updated: January 2017

Richmond does not have programs or policies to plan for future district energy systems.   

Last updated: April 2017

We did not find information on any programs or policies to plan for future district energy systems.

Last updated: April 2017

We did not find information on any programs or policies to plan for future district energy systems.   

Last updated: January 2017

We did not find information on any programs or policies to plan for future district energy systems.   

Last updated: January 2017

The city's municipal utility CPS Energy provides planning and technical support for the installation of distributed energy systems for both residences and businesses.

Last updated: April 2017

The city is currently identifying high priority areas for future district energy and/or combined heat and power (CHP) facilities in its research for a Municipal Energy Strategy report. The city is also actively assisting utilities and stakeholders with efficient distributed energy system projects and providing planning assistance.  

Last updated: April 2017

San Francisco has identified priority sites for district energy systems and provided planning assistance for district energy projects.

Last updated: April 2017

We did not find information on any programs or policies to plan for future district energy systems. San Jose is in the early phases of evaluating distributed energy systems as a component of a potential future community choice aggregation program, San Jose Clean Energy. This would serve over 1 million people and potentially decrease significant greenhouse gases emissions.

Last updated: April 2017

The city has not been successful in establishing large scale district energy systems in coordination with Corix Utilities, but is still supportive of other local district energy providers. A recent success can be seen in the new Amazon headquarters. The three Amazon headquarters buildings (three buildings totaling 4 million square feet) are heated by district energy piping with heat drawn from the nearby Westin Exchange data center.

Last updated: April 2017

The city offers a PACE financing program to help fund work that connects buildings to district energy systems.

Last updated: January 2017

We did not find information on any programs or policies to plan for future district energy systems.     

Last updated: January 2017

We did not find information on any programs or policies to plan for future district energy systems.

Last updated: January 2017

The Clean Energy DC Plan identified several high priority sites for district energy and microgrid systems that incorporate CHP. The city is also providing technical assistance to those wanting to integrate district energy into future developments.

Last updated: April 2017