European CHP contribution "overestimated"

Eurostat to adopt stricter measure of cogeneration plants proposed by EU power firms

Europe's statistical office is to adopt a new definition of combined heat and power (CHP) production that will cut its assumed contribution to EU electricity by one-fifth or more. As a result, meeting the EU's target of doubling the share of CHP by 2010 will likely mean an increase to 14% or even just 12% rather than the 18% envisaged by the European Commission in 1997 (ENDS Daily 16 October 1997).

The new "Protermo" calculation method was launched this week by EU power firm association Eurelectric and district heating operators' group Euroheat and Power. The approach was "more straightforward and more accurate" they said, and provided a better basis for taking forward policies to expand CHP in the future.

Until now, the EU has calculated CHP based on the ratio of heat and power output. According to Eurostat official Pekka Lösönen, this effectively led to any plant with an overall efficiency of about 75% to be classed as CHP. Protermo, instead, is based directly on a plant's overall efficiency, and sets a minimum rate of 85%.

The change in calculation method is an important step forward, Eurelectric's John Traynor told ENDS Daily. "Measuring kilowatts of CHP plant is only a poor proxy for real energy savings or real carbon dioxide savings," he said. "Some plants are designed sub-optimally, and some don't make best use of the heat they produce.... Real savings don't come from producing heat but from using it."

CHP plant operators are less convinced by Protermo, suspecting Eurelectric, in particular, of having partly selfish motives for proposing the new method. "If the [1994] baseline [of 9%] for doubling the share of CHP is now only 6% then we would only have to increase it to 12%," Simon Minett of Cogen Europe told ENDS Daily. Large power firms "are trying to cut down on competition," he alleged.

Follow Up:
Eurostat, tel: +352 43 01 11, Eurelectric, tel: +32 2 515 1005; Euroheat and Power, tel: +32 2 740 2110, and a joint press release; Cogen Europe, tel: +32 2 772 8290.

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