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Europe’s cogeneration industry ‘should be more ambitious’

Cogeneration is a major tool in carbon dioxide reduction for Europe, and the cogeneration industry ought to be more ambitious, according to remarks made by the European Commissioner for Energy, Andris Piebalgs, speaking at a seminar on cogeneration efficiency organized as part of the EU Sustainable Energy Week.

This was the first time in over a year that the European Commission addressed the significant potential of cogeneration energy efficiency, says COGEN Europe, which was co-host to the event with the European Commission and the International Energy Agency. The event focused on how Europe could double its current cogeneration capacity, bringing 20% of Europe’s electricity generation into cogeneration mode.

The seminar heard Commissioner Piebalgs, IEA Deputy Director William Ramsay and MEP Claude Turmes reinforce the importance of cogeneration in achieving Europe’s energy efficiency goals. The key role of mature technologies like cogeneration was stressed and industry was encouraged to engage with the European Commission in putting together policies that will promote this energy efficiency tool.

During the seminar there were calls on the European Commission to commit to a binding target of 20% for energy efficiency. It is becoming clear that without energy efficiency the renewables target cannot be met, added COGEN Europe. Meanwhile, industry drew attention to the unequal approach at Member States level to the adoption of promotion for cogeneration, eg the strong measures currently planned in Germany would leave energy efficiency industries in the Netherlands at a disadvantage.

According to Dr Fiona Riddoch, Managing Director at COGEN Europe: ‘Of all of Europe’s tools for addressing climate change and improving energy efficiency, cogeneration has the potential to be one of the lowest-risk and most far-reaching in terms of near-term impact. Cogeneration is already delivering 10% of Europe’s electricity today and with it significant energy security, cost savings and climate benefits.’