With the mature cogeneration markets of Europe and North America still feeling the effects of the global financial slowdown, the status of markets in Asia is particularly important.

I reported in the March-April issue of COSPP the lively demand for on-site power projects in parts of South East Asia: particularly Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia. All well and good. But the overall picture in Asia is rather more variable, with three countries recently profiled by the International Energy Agency’s CHP and DHC (district heating and cooling) initiative showing little or no progress in the last few years. The IEA is currently updating its country ‘scorecards’ for the more significant countries of the world, following initial publication in 2008. A new scorecard for India was published last month; versions for Korea and Japan last year.

IEA

In India, the main success story is cogeneration fuelled with bagasse, a by-product of the local sugar cane industry. India exceeded its target for 1.2 GW of new bagasse cogeneration plants to 2012, and has since increased both its target (to 2 GW of additional capacity by 2017) and its support for sugar industry cogeneration. However, the IEA suggests that policy support for non-bagasse schemes is limited, despite potential for perhaps 14 GW of capacity in the wider industrial sector.

Despite some recent success stories in other areas – eg a gas-fuelled trigeneration system serving a New Delhi hospital and a couple of district cooling projects serving high-tech developments – countrywide data on installed CHP and DHC capacity barely exists for India, says the IEA. The potential for cogeneration to contribute to India’s greenhouse emissions reduction targets is, as yet, little understood.

New scorecards for Japan and Korea are also rather negative. In Japan, cogeneration deployment has remained ‘stagnant’ at around 9.5 GW since 2007, and now provides less than 4% of the country’s total electricity production. The slowdown has followed the adverse evolution of energy prices locally, and a shift of policy support to micro-CHP, were capacity gains have yet to reach a significant size. This may change, of course, following a post-Fukushima reassessment in favour of new gas-fired power generation schemes.

Meanwhile, progress with cogeneration in Korea has been ‘relatively slow’, with its share of total generation capacity remaining steady since 2008 at 7%. Korea’s energy markets are based on monopoly incumbent companies and efforts to open competition have stagnated, adds the IEA. However, as with Japan, micro-CHP is expected to grow.

Healthy markets in some countries of South East Asia, little actual progress in recent years further north and west. Let’s hope the optimism over micro-CHP, market liberalization in Korea and new gas-fired plant in Japan is justified.