District Energy, CHP and Microgrids in Our Nation’s Energy Infrastructure

Tuesday, Jun 13, 2017

Robert Thornton, of the International District Energy Association (IDEA), describes advocacy work underway to educate the federal government about the importance of including district energy, CHP and microgrids in plans for national infrastructure improvement.

Robert Thornton, president and CEO of the International District Energy Association

The Trump Administration has set its sights on passing a major $1 trillion infrastructure bill aimed at renewing America’s aging infrastructure in order to boost the economy and produce more jobs. While the administration plan has focused on roads, bridges, railways and most recently airports, their proposal also includes modernization of the nation’s energy infrastructure.

US Senate Democrats have also unveiled their own $1 trillion infrastructure plan. The Senate version is also aimed at improving the economy and creating millions of jobs, with a plan to invest in roads, bridges, railways, schools, hospitals, broadband and energy. Where the two plans diverge is when it comes to how major projects will be funded. The Senate Democrats want to provide more direct support in the form of grants and federal funding in addition to loans and tax incentives. Republicans are less than enthusiastic about more government spending and instead the White House plan incentivizes privatization of infrastructure assets and funding through public-private partnerships.