Builders and developers, urban planners, engineers, energy policymakers and economists understand the value that natural gas solutions bring to the local economy. From large multi-phased and mixed-use development projects to public sector facilities, natural gas serves as the affordable, reliable, sustainable, foundational energy choice. WGL has more than 167 years of experience serving the Washington, D.C. region and a portfolio of services—spanning traditional and renewable—to deliver the right energy answer for residential, commercial, campus and government customers.

WGL’s economic development initiative is focused on supporting regional growth and prosperity through the improvement of our region’s energy security, infrastructure, transportation, housing and economic resiliency. A robust natural gas infrastructure is critical to meeting these needs. Partnering with the public and private sector, WGL is committed to fostering regional economic growth through serving the energy needs of our community.

We thrive on forging innovative partnerships that meet both the need to foster a more sustainable community and encourage economic growth across the Washington, D.C., region. Forward-thinking energy solutions play an integral role in WGL’s economic development initiatives and overall growth strategy.

Economic Development

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Washington Gas offers a range of services and resources to help aid the decision in making natural gas the foundational energy source for all large development projects, from multi-phase and multi-use developments and eco-districts to industrial sites, hospitals and campuses. 

A list of our available services and resources can be found below.

Combined Heat and Power

With policymakers creating rigorous environmental regulations, community advocates campaigning for a cleaner environment and energy prices soaring -- the commercial, industrial, institutional, municipal and manufacturing industries are recognizing the importance of reducing carbon emissions and establishing energy efficiency goals.  

One solution making headway in the industry is combined heat and power (CHP), also known as cogeneration. CHP is a form of distributed power generation and is typically located near the point of consumption. This technology is essentially the simultaneous production of electricity and thermal energy (heating and/or cooling) from a single source of energy, usually natural gas. 

In the traditional, utility-based power generation process, two-thirds of energy is lost in the form of heat and released into the atmosphere. Even more energy is lost in distribution by way of the power grid. A CHP system avoids much of this energy loss by capturing the waste heat from power generation and using it for thermal energy applications, such as steam or hot water. A typical electric generation facility with separate applications for heat generation may achieve around 50 percent efficiency in the generation process, but CHP can achieve energy efficiencies as high as 80 percent.*

CHP solutions are typically designed to meet continuous thermal load requirements while replacing a portion of the total power demand by the user. Industrial facilities with continuous power and heat demand for processes are the most common and economical applications of CHP. However, many commercial applications with high heat demand for hot water or temperature control can also benefit from the efficiency and savings of a CHP installation. Typical commercial applications for CHP include hospitals, universities, laundries, prisons, nursing homes, multifamily buildings and recreational facilities. Beyond the economic and environmental benefits of energy efficiency, these facilities also enjoy increased reliability of power and heat during utility grid interruptions.

There are various CHP technology options available today. Take a look below:  

  • Steam Turbines

    Steam turbines are known to be used for the largest type of Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plant.  It burns fuel at high pressure and temperature to provide high value heat and electric power.  Steam turbines are often used in really large industrial and commercial CHP applications that have high process-related thermal requirements that are not subject to daily or seasonal weather-related fluctuations, so energy is an important part of the business.

    Steam turbines have very high production capacity and a long operating life.  The median age of steam turbine installations in the United States is 45 years.  Steam turbine applications are also highly customizable to industrial applications.

  • Gas Combustion Turbines

    Combustion turbines are similar to those used in jet engines. They are fueled by natural gas to turn a generator to produce electricity. The waste heat is captured for use as a secondary energy source. Combustion turbine Combined Heat and Power (CHP) applications can support high-pressure steam for industrial processes and can reach efficiencies as high as 80 percent.* It also has very low emissions compared to other fossil fuel combustion generators.


    Beyond industrial applications, combustion turbine CHP solutions can also be ideal for large commercial applications. A typical commercial application is a university campus with around 5MW electricity production, where the waste heat is used to produce steam for heating and cooling through absorption chillers.*

  • Reciprocating Engines

    Natural gas reciprocating or internal combustion engines are comparable to those used in cars and trucks and can range in size and capacity to be comparable to high horse power marine engines.  Like combustion turbines, reciprocating engines burn fuel to turn a generator to produce electricity.  Reciprocating engines make up over half of all Combined Heat and Power installations in the US, but because of its size, it only accounts for about 3 percent of the total electricity generated by CHP in the United States.* The waste heat generated by the reciprocating engine is ideal for hot water or low pressure steam applications.    Some advantages of reciprocating engine CHP applications include relatively low cost, fast start-up, flexibility in operations, and an option to operate on low pressure natural gas. 

    Because the output heat from reciprocating engines prove to be ideal for hot water, typical applications for reciprocating engine CHP installations are driven by high hot water demand like hospitals, hotels, schools, and nursing homes.  Also, when paired with an absorption chiller, reciprocating engine CHP can be ideal for year-round climate control applications in office or multifamily residential buildings.

  • Fuel Cells

    Fuel cells powered by natural gas is a relatively new Combined Heat and Power (CHP) technology. Fuel cells generate electricity using electrochemical reactions as opposed to combustion of fossil fuels, resulting in the cleanest and most efficient generation of electricity. Potential CHP applications for fuel cell systems include premium power, remote power, specialty applications, grid support, peaking power and micro-grid applications. Though this technology is relatively new and expensive, fuel cells have an advantage over turbines and engines due to its lower emissions and noise levels, so potential markets exist where emissions permitting and noise would be significant barriers – like residential areas. Market penetration is relatively small, but potential exists where electricity prices are very high. Also, as with so many new technologies, prices are anticipated to drop as the market develops. Another current challenge to fuel cells is its sensitivity to fuel impurities; however, developments in the technology are expected to overcome this issue.

  • Micro CHP (MCHP)

    Micro Combined Heat and Power (MCHP) products can generate two forms of energy (heat and electricity) on a scale that can provide a residence or a small commercial building with enough power and/or heat to be self-sufficient. Micro CHP is typically defined as 30-250kW of electric generation.* In some cases, it can generate more power than is consumed—thus complementing the grid where net metering is available. MicroCHP equipment is available today as Engine-Driven or Fuel Cell-based systems.

    Some advantages of Micro CHP are compact and light weight sizing, a low number of moving parts, and simple operations.
*Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: Catalog of CHP Technologies

Washington Gas is pleased to support the PowerPath DC Initiative (also known as MEDSIS) by helping to identify energy solutions, such as Combined Heat and Power (CHP), that can be implemented in the District of Columbia to modernize the distribution energy delivery system for increased sustainability.

If you are responding to an RFP issued by Pepco and need specific information from Washington Gas to gauge whether a clean, natural gas solution fits into your proposed project, please follow the steps below to gain access to Washington Gas system-level data through our secure portal:

  1. Please begin your secure portal access request using the “Request Access” button below or email Luella Greene-Miles at For access, please include your name, company and email address in the request.
  2. You will receive a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) to sign and return to Washington Gas.
  3. Once you are approved, you will receive an email with a link to access the secure portal.
  4. From there, you will be able to obtain system-level data to help you design your project.

Access Washington Gas Portal

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