The UK’s Combined Heat and Power Association has called for concerted acti ...

The UK’s Combined Heat and Power Association has called for concerted action between government and the energy industry to realise the potential for a further 8mn tonnes of carbon savings each year by 2015 through the increased use of combined heat and power. The current government target is to double UK CHP capacity to 10,000 MW by 2010. The government's latest statistics show that every 1 MW of CHP operating in the UK helps reduce carbon emissions by between 510 and 760 tonnes every year. Current installed CHP capacity of approximately 5,440 MWe, on over 1,500 sites across the UK, is already helping deliver savings of over 4mn t/y of carbon, one of the largest single carbon reduction measures in the government's Climate Change Programme. Speaking at the Association’s Annual Conference, Graham Meeks, Director of the Association, highlighted the impact of powerful incentives for combined heat and power (CHP) being introduced elsewhere in Europe. He emphasised the risks to the UK’s low carbon future of a failure to act today to decarbonise our future pattern of energy supply. ‘This is a clearly a critical time in the fight against climate change. Whilst we congratulate the government for taking bold political steps such as the introduction of the Climate Change Bill, we must not forget the urgent need for practical action to cut emissions in the energy sector. Even before the Parliamentary draftsmen’s ink is dry, decisions that are being made today to develop a new generation of conventional fossil-fuel fired power stations risk compromising the ability of tomorrow’s politicians to meet these targets.’ He continued: ‘It is a simple fact that many of the technologies that we could deploy to cut carbon emissions in energy supply will not be available until the end of the next decade. By contrast, CHP is a proven technology that can be put to work now, making efficient use of valuable fuels, saving carbon and cutting energy costs. Already we are seeing an increasing commitment to CHP through projects such as the Isle of Grain, in countless property developments across the UK, and in the growing maturity of many microCHP technologies.’ ‘But while the UK market is taking the first tentative steps towards new CHP development, elsewhere in Europe the market is set for strong growth on the back of powerful market incentives. Research we are publishing today shows the UK lagging behind many of our strongest competitors in Europe in our support for CHP. As countries such as Belgium and Germany look forward to the long-term efficiency benefits of new cogeneration plants, the weaker conditions in the UK risk locking-out one of the brightest prospects for delivering our transition to a low-carbon economy. With the government’s own analysis showing potential for a further 10 GWe of CHP capacity by 2015, there has never been a more pressing case for the government and the energy industry to establish an effective framework for delivery.’ Currently within the UK there is over 8,000 MWe of new combined cycle gas turbine power station capacity with planning consent and a further 5,000 MWe under consideration. Of this total of 13,100 MWe, a maximum of 3,400 MWe is expected to be high efficiency CHP. New power generating capacity which is not developed as a CHP plant represents a potential missed opportunity for carbon savings and energy conservation.

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