Europe’s cogeneration authority points out UN/EU contradiction

COGEN Europe, the representative body for the cogeneration industry in Europe, has welcomed a new report from the United Nations, which strongly advocates combined heat and power but has also pointed out the flawed approach of the EU towards the technology.

Welcoming the recent recognition granted towards cogeneration by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) for its key role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions from energy supply, COGEN Europe pointed out the contradiction between this finding and the direction of some EU member states’ policy on CHP.Fiona Riddoch

COGEN Europe Managing Director Fiona Riddoch says “the IPCC report particularly highlights the value of near-term actions and the value of CHP in COà¢â€šâ€š mitigation. European member states must take steps now to give confidence to stakeholders so that at least their installed capacities will be maintained, through what is an exceptionally difficult time for the larger players in the sector”.

The body has warned that the current situation risks undermining even existing gains. COGEN noted that despite the number of policies aimed at reducing greenhouse gases, emissions had grown more quickly between 2000 and 2010 than in the previous 30 years.
COGEN Europe
In its consideration of mitigation approaches for different sectors, the IPCC report concluded there is “robust evidence” and “high agreement” that “GHG emissions from energy supply can be reduced significantly by replacing current world average coal-fired power plants with modern, highly efficient natural gas combined-cycle power plants or combined heat and power plants”. Indeed, “delaying mitigation efforts beyond those in place today through 2030 is estimated to substantially increase the difficulty of the transition to low longer-term emissions levels,” the IPCC report warned.

Industrial CHP is facing difficulties in several European countries due to a combination of circumstances, including extreme fluctuations in electricity prices, overcapacity in much of the electricity market and high gas prices, which make industrial CHPs particularly challenging to operate in the near term. Plants in Spain and the Netherlands are at a standstill. These energy market developments come at a particularly crucial stage of the investment cycle, presenting many industrial plant operators with unbearable financial risks regarding reinvestment in these highly efficient plants.
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