Green paper on security of supply pays too little attention to CHP

The European Commission’s green paper on the security of energy supply needs to pay more attention to the benefits of Combined Heat and Power (CHP) if it is to successfully achieve its aim of increased efficiency within its long term energy strategy, in order to cater for climate change and the rise in energy demand.

According to Euroheat and Power, the international association for CHP and district heat and power (DHP) producers, although the fundamental aim of the paper is valid, the heating and cooling market is the largest single user of final energy, but has received surprisingly little attention in the paper (see related story).

As the EU energy system is expected to remain dominated by fossil fuels over the next decade, efficiency will be the key for achieving the Commission’s goals says Euroheat and Power, pointing out that CHP allows efficiencies which can be as high as 85-90%.

The green paper fails to give clear indications on the expected demand for space heating, or to define how the heat or cooling is generated, or which fuels are used. District heat and power not only provides the opportunity for using renewable energy sources such as biogas, straw, heat in lake water (see related story), and geothermal energy, but it can also be used to take care of all kinds of waste, points out Euroheat and Power.

Although CHP is prominent in countries such as Finland and Denmark, comprising 50% of the heat market, the technology is even more common in EU applicant countries, says Euroheat and Power, with market shares of up to 70%. However, the contribution of CHP is in urgent need of political recognition, says the organisation.

Regarding the choice of fuel within Europe, Euroheat and Power stresses concern over the growing dependency on Russian natural gas, which is produced by one company in particular. It is important to ensure that the stability of the society, the reliability of the legal system, and the functioning of the infrastructure and the administration are at a sufficiently trustworthy level in Russia to provide stability and prevent unhealthy price settings, says the CHP organisation.

The organisation also points out problems with the liberalisation of the energy markets, which has already proved beyond doubt that competition neither automatically leads to energy efficiency nor security of supplies, meaning that new policies will be needed. Any new legislation, however, should not focus exclusively on the demand side, but should also encourage energy and carbon dioxide savings by providers, including the promotion of CHP and DHC. Such legislation could take the form of a separate directive on CHP, says Euroheat and Power, and should include:

  • harmonised rules for the definition and certification of CHP;
  • negotiated targets for CHP of at least 18%;
  • requirements on member states to award efficiency-orientated financial bonuses to CHP, such as through tax refunds or exemptions, or carefully managed tradable certificate schemes; and
  • monitoring of systems at European Community level.

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