Support urged for German cogeneration

Industry calls for premium prices and guaranteed markets to reduce CO2 emissions

A coalition of energy-efficient technology companies has urged the German government to give more support to combined heat and power, or cogeneration. According to the lobby, Germany could cut its emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) by 13% if it ensured that cogeneration accounted for one half of electricity production rather than its 10% as now. This is over half Germany's commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions under the Kyoto protocol on climate change. Arnold Tolle of the European Business Council for a Sustainable Energy Future (E5) said that cogeneration should benefit from "feed-in" subsidies similar to those enjoyed by the German renewable energy sector. This would capture "long-term social benefits" as the country's electricity market becomes progressively more liberalised, he said. Forthcoming changes to Germany's energy law, Dr Tolle said, should allow cogeneration plant operators to sell an unlimited amount of electricity at a premium price determined by an independent electricity regulator. The premium could vary according to plants' operating and investment costs, he said, and remain in place until their prices were competitive with conventional generators. Cogeneration plants raise the conversion efficiency of fuel use from around one-third in conventional power stations to around 80%. The EU last year approved a strategy for cogeneration and is now working on an action plan to raise its share to 18% by 2010 (ENDS Daily 18 May 1998).

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