From the Publishers

The ups-and-downs (downs-and-downs?) of the financial markets that have whistled around the globe in recent weeks are yet another reminder of how the consequences of human actions in one part of the world (a US mortgage lender, a French trader) impact their fellows elsewhere. In this case, as the effect gradually filters through, many may start to wonder whether this year’s planned house move is still realistic, whether they can really afford to put their child through university, or what might be happening to their pension.

Here on board planet Earth we’re all neighbours these days, sharing the consequences of countless decisions and actions. For the energy business, of course, that means not only the environmental impacts of technology and policy decisions à‚— especially in the form of emissions of carbon and other pollutants à‚— but also the impacts that will come as hungry markets chase after ever-scarcer resources.

Reflecting the urgency and importance, around the world, of implementing intelligent energy policy and practice, this issue of COSPP throws the net particularly wide geographically. We learn that almost half the power generation of Belarus is CHP-based à‚— an enviable target for many countries. Yet the future hangs in the balance as many plants are approaching end-of-life, and the country’s inclination towards nuclear could produce a policy that no longer favours CHP. Mexico’s market for CHP still struggles, awaiting policies that will encourage its development, while in New York City the market is keen to build more distributed energy, but is being held up by interconnection issues. In fact, two other articles analyse reasons behind the still low uptake of DE/CHP in the US.

Jens Christensen writes about China’s energy challenges. He points out that the country’s heavy dependence on coal is likely to leave it a net importer of coal within a decade or so, arguing that whether power generation is based on coal, LNG or biomass, it’s essential to make use of the heat, especially in the form of district heating. His own small country à‚— Denmark à‚— can help show the way to its large global neighbour.

There’s a huge amount of experience to be shared à‚— the COSPP team hopes this first issue of 2008 will be a useful part of that process.

Jackie Jones
Editorial Director, COSPP

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