New York City is looking at installing small CHP generators to meet ever expanding energy demands. New transmission lines average a million dollars a mile, however, in cities like New York and Chicago the cost can reach $10M per mile. Localized power is less wasteful and better on the environment even when talking gas powered generators.

Demand on electricity is projected to outstrip supply soon. The city expects 1 million new arrivals and many more power-hungry gadgets. Old power plants are going off-line, and installing new lines is difficult, if not impossible in some cases. (The city already has 93,000 miles of subterranean lines.) To prepare, electrical utility Con Edison is embarking on what it says is its biggest construction spree in 30 years, but it’s also urging the public to use less.

CHP addresses these problems nicely: no new lines coming into the city, no new large power plants, a relatively smaller up-front investment, and it uses clean-burning natural gas. “If there’s a need to build more power plants, it may be easier, faster, better, and more reliable to build [many] smaller power plants than to build one large one,” says Dana Levy, program manager for industrial research at the New York State Energy Research Development Authority (NYSERDA) in Albany, N.Y.

Yet another argument in favor of distributed generation is documented here. Massive electrical storage (MES) is required for renewable sources to maintain a baseload on a centralized grid. Localized power working on or off the grid does not require complicated investments in MES.