The world’s decentralized energy industry is right to look towards developing countries as potential markets for its wares. These countries have the opportunity to miss-out the industrial development stage characterized by a single, centralized electricity transmission and distribution system, in favour of a hybrid of local grids liberally supplied by small-scale decentralized power generators.

This is the theme of the perspective article in this issue, from Wärtsilä and WADE’s Christoph Vitzthum. He concludes that modern western utilities in developed countries are also striving towards a similar optimum power system – with all its well-documented economic, environmental and security benefits – but from different starting points.

This is where encouragement and assistance from the state is important, but how effective can this encouragement be, and which developed countries have made a reasonable success of getting first combined heat and power (CHP), and then wider decentralized energy technologies, adopted? The International Energy Agency is studying just this question – and the Agency’s Tom Kerr takes a detailed look at the comparative efforts of Germany, Japan and US in this issue.

As always, this issue combines articles on technology, policy and good practice from across the globe – from the importance of operation and maintenance contracts for cogeneration, through the efficacy or otherwise of feed-in tariffs, to good practice examples of the use of decentralized energy technologies at a brewery and several educational establishments in the US.

We hope to make some small changes to the COSPP editorial coverage from the January-February 2009 issue, to begin a series of industry sector profiles and interviews with leading figures within the world of decentralized energy.

Meanwhile, don’t forget to visit www.cospp.com to see regular news updates, the current issue of the magazine in full and an archive of articles from previous issues. It’s the same website address to sign-up for our regular e-newsletter and to subscribe to the print version or the new electronic version of the magazine.

Steve Hodgson
Co-Ordinating Editor, COSPP