Energy efficiency directive looks to capture waste heat opportunity
A proposed Energy Efficiency Directive is set to make energy generation from waste plants more efficient by making combined heat and power (CHP) with district heating the default option.
The European Commission (EC) is proposing that all new and refurbished thermal electricity generation facilities should be fitted with high efficiency heat recovery equipment.
Through encouraging siting of generation stations near to sites of heat demand, the directive aims to exploite cogeneration opportunities as a key mechanism for increasing energy efficiency across the EU.
The EC also suggests that CHP electricity should benefit from priority grid access and dispatch to bring it on par with electricity from other forms of renewable generation.
Commenting on the proposals, director of the Combined Heat & Power Association, Graham Meeks, said they were "a step in the right direction".
"Energy-efficient solutions are among the most cost-effective ways of reducing emissions, and this directive seeks to drive a step-change in energy efficiency across the EU," he said.
The directive would also require member states to establish national plans for district heating and cooling and that this should be incorporated into local spatial plans to coordinate the deployment of heat loads close to the point of demand.
Member states would facilitate the development of district heating and cooling infrastructure to exploit CHP opportunities as well as the capture of surplus heat from industrial processes
The EC suggests that these proposals will overcome the barriers to CHP that the Cogenerative Directive and the EU Emissions Trading Scheme have so far proved ineffective in tackling.
Between 2004 and 2008, the share of electricity from CHP in the EU only increased from 10.5% to 11%. The new directive's proposals for CHP alone are projected to save up to 25M tonnes of primary energy and 55M tonnes of CO2 emissions per year from 2020.