Combined heat and power organisation calls for national targets for the technology

The industry association for combined heat and power in Europe is calling for ambitious national targets for combined heat and power (CHP) to be included in a forthcoming directive on the technology, in order to speed up the uptake of CHP which has been much slower than the European Commission had hoped for.

In 1997, the Commission launched a resolution calling for 18% of electricity to be generated by CHP by 2010, but progress has been slower than anticipated, due largely to the liberalisation of the energy markets. In 1997, 10.2% of electricity was generated by CHP, although there is no official record of the levels, a Euroheat and Power spokesman told edie. Because of this, Euroheat and Power is calling for a directive on CHP to give clear signals to member states that there is a need to actively promote the technology, particularly by means of rewarding or internalising its societal benefits. Such rewards could take the form of grants, financial bonuses, tradeable certificates or tax exemptions, says the organisation.

The prospect of a forthcoming European directive on emissions trading will also be an important step towards a better internalisation of environmental costs. However, it will not recognise benefits such as energy savings, diversification of energy supplies such as with fuel switching, the introduction of renewables into the heat market, reduction of fuel transportation, reduction of other emissions, and decentralisation, says Euroheat and Power. In addition to this, a European emissions trading scheme will not become fully operational until 2008, leaving several years of uncertainty for CHP investors.

The directive will also need to provide a clear definition of what CHP is, and must also provide clear guidelines for issuing guarantees of origin, which will allow the identification of the processes with the highest conversion efficiency and help in the gathering of exact figures for the amount of CHP electricity generated.

“We consider an ambitious burden-sharing mechanism to be an appropriate way to reinforce the commitment of the individual member states to the common target,” said Euroheat and Power. “This can only be effective if a correct definition and certification provide an accurate basis for monitoring both the baseline and the progress towards the goal.”

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