Environment Minister offers £5 million for CHP

Environment Minister Michael Meacher has announced an initial ‘pathfinder’ round of funding for capital grant for the refurbishment or installation of combined heat and power (CHP) facilities.

The money is part of the £50 million Community Energy package for community heating and CHP announced by Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott in April last year. Following this initial funding round, there will be further bidding rounds in 2002/3, and in 2003/4 for the remainder of the money. The aim of the programme is to lever £200 million investment from other sources, and if the scheme proves to be a success it will be extended beyond these first two years.

“This ‘pathfinder’ round will help us to shape the future of the programme,” said Meacher. “We are looking for a small number of proposals that will provide case studies and inform guidance for future bidding rounds. This will make it easier for others who want to bring proposals forward.”

Community Energy is being managed jointly by the Energy Saving Trust and the Carbon Trust. Those eligible to apply for funding include local authorities, housing associations, hospitals and universities.

“Community Energy is designed to help households, and small and large businesses,” said the Energy Saving Trust’s Chief Executive, Eoin Lees. “I am delighted that we will be working so closely with the Carbon Trust and look forward to further collaboration.”

Community Energy is expected to reduce carbon emissions by 150,000 tonnes per year, provide low-cost heat and electricity to 100,000 people on low incomes, and meet the Government’s target of at least 10,000 MW of installed good quality CHP by 2010.

“We will seek to ensure that best return for this public investment through a combination of guidance, development support and capital funding,” said Carbon Trust Chief Executive Tom Delay. “Combined heat and power is an essential technology to help meet our targets for fuel poverty and for emissions reductions, and it is vital we succeed in stimulating a sustainable market in such schemes.”

Applications need to be submitted by 8 March, with the decision on bids being announced in April or May.

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