EU law mooted to boost cogeneration

Progress report on climate change programme suggests range of new measures to cut emissions

The European Commission could soon propose EU legislation to boost cogeneration of heat and power, it emerged today. The initiative is suggested in a progress report on the European climate change programme (ECCP) submitted to EU environment ministers meeting in Brussels.

Other new initiatives flagged up in the report as "likely measures" to be proposed at the end of the programme next June include a voluntary agreement with the car industry on reducing carbon dioxide emissions from light commercial vehicles, a draft directive on energy efficiency standards in public buildings, and a directive further liberalising the natural gas market in order to encourage a switch to low-carbon fuels.

The European Commission proposed doubling the share of EU electricity generated in cogeneration plants to 18% by 2010 in 1997 (ENDS Daily 16 October 1997). But the large-scale liberalisation of European power markets that has since got underway, has in fact led to serious problems for the sector. This spring, industry association Cogen Europe warned of potential "disaster" for cogeneration unless the EU took further action (ENDS Daily 7 March).

The Commission appears to have accepted this analysis in its ECCP progress report. It suggests that a forthcoming initiative on cogeneration could be modelled on the draft directive on renewable electricity it proposed in May (ENDS Daily 10 May).

Its announcement has surprised the cogeneration industry since only last month officials from the Commission's energy directorate told a conference that a directive proposal was unlikely. "It's very good news and we welcome it strongly," Mercedes Marin of Cogen Europe told ENDS Daily today.

Preparation of today's progress report was led by the Commission's environment directorate, but the working group which produced the recommendation on cogeneration was chaired by the energy directorate. The working group is one of six set up under the ECCP, which was announced in March (ENDS Daily 8 March). Its aim is to identify the "most environmentally and cost-effective additional measures so that the EU can be sure of meeting its targets under the Kyoto protocol."

Follow Up:
European Commission, tel: +32 2 299 1111, European climate change programme pages and ECCP progress report.

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