Cogeneration industry waiting for a “change in attitude”

Growth in combined heat and power (CHP) electricity generation is suffering in Europe because market liberalisation has not been properly thought out, says Cogen Europe, the CHP trade association.

“We’ve picked out the Netherlands and Germany in particular,” Simon Minett of Cogen Europe told edie. CHP has gained its highest national market share in the Netherlands while Germany boasts the largest installed capacity. Despite these positions, Cogen Europe says that CHP is now falling behind because “in both countries you’re getting liberalisation brought in without any attempt to integrate it with other policy objectives”. Minett argues that CHP will founder if it is left to compete in an open market where prices are left simply to plummet.

Cogen Europe wants to see a well-thought out sustainable energy strategy produced by the EU that would set out obligations for member states. “I always hesitate to use the UK as an example,” says Minett, “but at least in the UK the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions, the Department of Trade and Industry and the Treasury have started to talk together about how to double CHP within an open market.”

Minett is hoping that the EU’s climate change policy (see separate article in this section) “may be one of the vehicles the EC can use to ensure that CHP and renewables grow”. He’s less confident that the imminent Action Plan on Energy Efficiency will offer help. “It will be very weak. It will be window dressing – no new money, no new initiatives, just re-badging and re-focusing,” says Minett.

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