These are tough times for most industries, and it’s hard to predict just how the financial crisis is likely to affect the development of cogeneration and decentralized energy in major markets across the world. We have seen some positive movement in recent months on the policy front with, in the US, ex-president Bush’s clean energy credit package supplanted by President Obama’s considerably more ambitious proposals on energy efficiency and clean energy.
But, as Elisa Wood reports in this issue, a very tight credit system is pulling in the other direction and may well be more powerful than policy support ” even the very best clean energy projects will not be built if they cannot be financed. And currently low global oil prices do their own damage to projects based on alternatives to fossil fuels.
At a time when we are likely to see fewer new energy projects of any type going ahead for a while, the key question is whether clean energy projects will weather the storm; indeed whether politicians and regulators can frame their responses to the credit crunch to favour projects on the cleaner end of the spectrum.
As the feature article on national policies for CHP and district heating and cooling shows, several countries in Europe already have highly supportive policy frameworks for CHP/DHC. These countries have developed impressive amounts of clean energy plant as result. The key here, and in the US, has been the critical importance of governments taking and active leadership on CHP/DHC, as the IEA’s Tom Kerr is quoted as saying. We are going to need more active leadership from governments in the future.
Elsewhere in the issue is a set of articles covering the usual mixture of technology and markets for decentralized energy around the world. Benjamin Sovacool takes a look at the successful cogeneration scene in one country of the Far East ” Singapore. And a series of articles covers the use of waste or biogases for CHP: coal-mine methane in Eastern Europe, methane from livestock farming in the US and elsewhere, gasified wood in Denmark, and municipal solid waste in Germany.
P.S. 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. Last, look out for announcements of how to sign up to the first COSPP web conference for 2009.