EU Parliament discusses challenges to industrial CHP

Date: 18 December 2013

The European Union has been told to do more to get behind the promotion of industrial combined heat and power (CHP) technology.

A question put to the European Commission by the Vice-President of the European Parliament asks what action is currently being undertaken to ensure the technology can perform its role in maintaining and improving the energy competitiveness of industries in the European bloc in the face of serious market challenges.

Alejo Vidal-Quadras said, “Current national energy market policies could lead to decreasing use of CHP in a number of countries because of growing investor uncertainty and a lack of clearly-defined long term policy structures. Are DG Enterprise and DG Energy aware of these developments and monitoring them? What can the Commission do to support this higher productivity and lower carbon enabling technology, in this difficult transitional period?

European industry is a large consumer of energy (315 Mtoe per year), and combined heat and power offers businesses a way to reduce their bills and carbon footprint simultaneously. The parliamentary question argues that the EU has a long-term interest in developing all its energy-efficiency potential, pointing out that the European Union continues to support CHP through several directives, including the Energy Efficiency Directive.

Despite this, industrial CHP is currently facing major challenges as the electricity market continues its transition towards low-carbon power – a situation which is worsened by current high gas prices.

The parliamentary question, which can be read in full here, goes on to ask what the Commission can do to support this higher productivity and lower carbon enabling technology in what is a difficult transitional period.

COGEN Europe Managing Director Fiona Riddoch said: “Industrial CHP is a key technology for energy cost savings and carbon reduction today, and is one of the vital tools enabling Europe’s industrial base to achieve the 2020 Strategy goals. A European cogeneration strategy can create thousands of jobs in Europe and build on existing technical strength in the sector. The industry employs over 100,000 European citizens today.”
Source: COSPP