There is potential for at least an additional 122 GWe of cogeneration capacity in Europe, on top of the existing 97 GWe installed today, according to EU Member States reporting under a requirement of the Cogeneration Directive 2004/08/EC.

Cogeneration is therefore an economic option in the search for measures to close the energy efficiency gap in the 2020 energy savings target, says COGEN Europe, which is monitoring implementation of the Directive. At a European Parliamentary event hosted by Fiona Hall MEP, COGEN Europe presented the first analysis of Member States’ assessment of the cogeneration potential, showing that doubling the existing cogeneration capacity is economically possible. Experts heard how Member States must give more focus to cogeneration in their efforts to achieving their energy and climate targets.

The Member States reports show that, in the majority of cases, there is substantial opportunity to expand cogeneration. Germany’s assessment shows one of the highest potentials: over 50% of Germany’s current electricity could be supplied using high efficiency cogeneration. ‘The potentials assessed by Member States offer a clear energy saving opportunity’, commented Fiona Riddoch, Managing Director of COGEN Europe. ‘It is time for the European Commission to consider a cogeneration target for Europe.’

Currently, around 11% of Europe’s electricity and heat requirements are produced with cogeneration, which delivers a saving of up to 25% on primary fuel compared to separate production of heat and electricity, says COGEN Europe. Member States have identified a wide spread of additional opportunities for cogeneration, ranging from industry, the tertiary sector and district heating to agriculture and households. Industry is a potentially large user of cogeneration with recent examples in the refinery sector demonstrating substantial carbon savings. In the new Member States, the opportunity in upgrading old heat distribution networks of district heating to include cogeneration is the major opportunity.

The analysis of Member State reports was carried out the CODE project, a Community co-funded project which is independently monitoring the implementation of the Cogeneration Directive in Europe. The Parliamentary event launched the interim findings of CODE, in advance of a full report at the end of October.