UK: Strong EU energy efficiency target a boost for CHP

Date: 5 February 2014

The UK Combined Heat and Power Association believes the recent switch in emphasis towards binding GHG targets by the European Commission will be conducive to more adoption of the technology.

Jonathan Graham, Policy Manager with the UKCHPA (pictured) spoke to COSPP about the potential implications of the recent announcement on 2030 climate and energy goals for CHP.

Earlier this week Cogeneration and On-site Power Production spoke to a top official at the European Commission’s Directorate General who confirmed the role Brussels envisages for CHP in the coming years.

The spokesperson whose department takes in new and renewable sources of energy, energy efficiency and innovation, with responsibility for the development of the policy and actions on energy efficiency said, “It’s in that area of energy efficiency where the combined heat and power and district heating systems really will come into their own so you will see in the forthcoming energy efficiency review when that comes through, the role (specifically designated) for renewables in combined heat and power and heating.”

Mr Graham told COSPP that the change in focus to a binding greenhouse gas reduction (GHG), rather than a renewable energy target was positive for the CHP sector.

“We think having that GHG reduction target will play an important role in driving energy efficiency measures like CHP and district heat. I think the renewables target has been really effective in driving uptake of renewable technologies but also unfortunately can result in energy efficiency measures getting lost in the noise. Having a strong GHG target will help bring energy efficiency measures back to the forefront.”

“I think the question that will be asked when it comes to GHG is how to meet those ambitious GHG targets in the most cost effective way and that’s a great opportunity for CHP.

“Having those strong GHG targets provides that investor confidence and the certainty that this is the direction to travel.”

On the domestic front, Graham confirmed that the UK’s department of energy and climate change (DECC) are working closely with the CHPA to maximise the UK’s CHP potential, and that the Government is developing the bespoke CHP policy it committed to in its 2013 Heat Strategy.

DECC estimates there is 18 GW of economic potential in CHP and are keen to ensure the framework is in place to realise that prospect.

“DECC also wants to understand what investment in CHP can achieve in terms of reducing emissions. Our members and working groups are working very hard on that on a regular basis to ensure that policies put in place are ones that will work in practice.”

“That includes a support mechanism under the bespoke CHP policy; that’s absolutely vital.”

DECC recently announced a Community Energy Strategy, which Mr Graham also sees as having some positive implications for the industry.

“Contained within the strategy is a section referring to License Light – whereby the regulatory regime allows smaller players to meet lower regulatory costs within the electricity market. If that can move forward, it will make it easier for smaller CHP operators to sell their power locally, and could have a positive impact on the smaller-scale market. ”

The manoeuvrings at both European and national level offer evidence for a positive outlook for the industry.

Source: COSPP