Combined heat and power (CHP) is a proven, reliable, efficient and cost-effective technology – but is not being made full use of by all countries, according to a new report from the International Energy Agency (IEA).
CHP, which uses internal combustion energy to generate electricity while capturing excess heat for water and space heating in buildings, is enjoying something of a renaissance in some parts of Europe.
Denmark, for example, generates 40% of its power from CHP, while Finland, Russia, Latvia and the Netherlands also generate a third to a half of their energy in this way.
Germany is aiming to double its CHP energy component to 25% by 2020 with new legislation from 1 January 2009 that will pay CHP owners €0.11-0.13 for every excess kWh they generate and sell back to the grid. Germany’s CHP Act guarantees these incentives until 2016.
Photo of the Veitshöcheim Palace in Bavaria, Germany, built in 1680, that is now heated and powered by a Dachs mini-CHP unit manufactured by SenerTec.
Although the amount of CHP generated in the UK has almost doubled in recent years from 3.68 GW in 1998 to 5.55 GW in 2006, it is still a largely neglected energy source. The UK could potentially generate 17% of its power requirements using CHP by 2010.
“Feed-in tariffs are proving extremely successful in Germany and I would urge the UK to consider a similar system,” says Matt Johler of Baxi-SenerTec.
“In 1999 the German market was very similar to the UK market today, but the incentives have totally transformed the commercial environment in favour of microgeneration,” he adds.
Greater use of CHP globally could improve efficiency dramatically in the heat and electricity sectors, according to the IEA report.
The result could be a 4% reduction in CO2 emissions arising from new generation by 2015, a reduction in transmission and distribution investment of around $795 billion over the next 20 years and reduced electricity costs for end users.
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14 August 2008