Cogeneration CHP, Europe, Renewables

A second spring

The outcome of this process, due to be finalized by the end of this year, will have extremely important implications for the future of cogeneration in Europe. Excessive benchmarks would create artificial barriers for new cogeneration projects. It is therefore essential to find a plausible basis for a fair and accurate comparison with separate production, which will ensure the environmental integrity of cogeneration installations.

BUILDINGS, GAS AND ELECTRICITY MARKETS


Improving the energy performance of buildings will encourage DG. The ZICER building in Norwich, UK, uses building-integrated photovoltaics and is one of the most energyefficient buildings in Europe
Whitbybird

Another important implementation process of European regulation is the European Buildings Directive. It came into force in December 2002, and EU Member States must translate its provisions into national regulation by January 2006. The Directive is a potentially important mechanism to bring about the wider use of cogeneration in the residential and commercial building sectors: it requires that the ‘positive influence’ of cogenerated electricity must be included into the calculation of the so-called integrated energy performance of buildings. Also, feasibility studies for cogeneration will become mandatory for all new buildings with a useful floor of more than 1000 m2. However, such requirements will not automatically inform future practice unless planners, architects, engineers and building owners are given more detailed instructions on how exactly to implement them.

With this in mind, in early 2004 the European Commission started to develop a suite of standards to deal with the energy performance of buildings, including heat generation and cogeneration systems. This massive and ambitious task is far from complete. By early 2005, draft standards had been developed, and their translated copies were sent to EU Member States for consultation. But it seems that much work is still necessary to obtain satisfactory results. At present, the draft standards for heating appliances – such as boilers, cogeneration, district heating or heat pumps – seem to display differences rather than share common features. Much stronger harmonization is desirable for making these standards more user-friendly, and to avoid the risk of comparing apples with pears when evaluating different heating and cooling options for buildings.

heading into the mainstream?

A new energy law likely to be passed in Germany this summer will be crucial in determining the future growth of distributed generation (DG). So too will the development of a robust regulatory regime to administer the law, writes Uwe Leprich. If successful, DG production could reach 40% of the total by 2020.

Distributed generation (DG), if defined as electricity that is fed into the low- and medium-voltage grid and is produced near the end-users and the load, can be found in Germany in two market niches:

  • Renewables accounted for slightly more than 10% of total electricity production in 2004. For the first time, wind energy had the highest share with around 45%, followed by hydro power with 40%, and biomass with less than 10%. Since large hydro power cannot be considered as decentralized production, the renewables market niche roughly embraces 7% of total production.
  • Cogeneration covered slightly less than 10% of total electricity production in 2004. Nearly half of it comes from industrial autoproduction, while the other half is from municipal power production. All of the municipal, and the largest part of the industrial, production can be considered as decentralized, as defined above.

Germany’s decentralized plants currently contribute around 85 TWh to the country’s electricity production, a market share of around 16%.

If the CHP law remains unchanged, there will be no growth in cogeneration

Both renewables and cogeneration are supported by state laws: renewables by the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG), and cogeneration by the CHP law. However, the remuneration mechanisms for EEG and CHP plants are quite different. While EEG plants get a fixed rate according to technology and plant size, the payment for CHP plants consists of three components: