The penetration of CHP/cogeneration and district energy technologies varies very widely indeed across the world – from the well-known success stories of Denmark and Finland, where around half the total electricity generation is from CHP and district heating is the norm, to countries where the technology is hardly known, let alone used. Further, the methods by which countries have developed a healthy decentralized energy sector have been many and various.

Now, for the first time, guidance on exactly which support measures – be they financial instruments, obligations on utilities, dedicated local planning, assistance with grid connections, or deliberate capacity-building – have worked in the past to deliver CHP/DE growth, is available in a report from the International Energy Agency (IEA). See the news story on page 11 for details, or go direct to This short and highly-accessible document, produced with input from many industry, association and government players around the world, lays out a pathway towards proven support measures which policy makers can adopt in order to increase CHP/DE capacity.

The US is one country that needs to boost its use of CHP and the country is making some very positive moves to achieve that, through substantial new funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for smart power grids, energy efficiency and on-site power – see news stories on pages 14 and 27 for details. The extended news pages in this issue also describe positive policy developments in Germany and the UK – there is much to be optimistic about – as well as accounts of new CHP and district energy plants being installed from Belgium to the UAE.

Meanwhile, feature articles cover the usual mix of decentralized energy technology and market developments. Cogeneration for commercial buildings is beginning to make headway in parts of Australia, while Turkey’s capital city, Ankara, now boasts a low energy building that incorporates ‘polygeneration’ on-site energy systems – see pages 31 and 53.

Other features take a look at the arrival in the US of micro-CHP systems based on technology from Japan, and the growing use of stationary fuel cell technology (originally for standby power but now for mainstream power supply) for buildings and communication systems in the UK and elsewhere. Moving on to larger installations, methods to model the performance of gas turbines are examined in another feature, and we also include case studies of the Helsinki district heating system and CHP plants based on anaerobic digestion in the UK.

Steve Hodgson

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