19 May 2022
COGEN Europe, the European Association for the Promotion of Cogeneration, has welcomed the REPowerEU Plan that was published by the European Commission yesterday (18 May). The association is calling on the EU and its Member States to prioritise cogeneration for all thermally generated heat and power in order to save energy, support the transition to lower carbon and renewable energy sources and ensure a more resilient and affordable energy system.
"COGEN Europe fully supports the objectives of the European Commission’s REPowerEU Plan in terms of delivering energy savings, diversifying energy supplies and accelerating the uptake of renewable energy sources," said Hans Korteweg, Managing Director of COGEN Europe.
"However, the REPowerEU Action Plan remains vague on the role of efficient and flexible solutions like cogeneration. COGEN Europe estimates that cogeneration currently saves at least 15 bcm of gas per year and there is potential for new and refurbished CHP to save an additional 20-30 bcm of gas per year by 2030. These significant savings must not be ignored and should be seriously considered in the follow-up impact assessments that the European Commission plans to undertake."
“The latest cogeneration technologies, which are already being used in many European countries, are much more efficient than traditional thermal power plants and boilers. By generating electricity and capturing the heat that would otherwise be wasted, cogeneration can produce the same amount of useful energy using less fuel. This is important whether one is using valuable natural gas or renewable gases like biomethane and clean hydrogen," continued Mr Korteweg.
"In addition to higher efficiency, cogeneration also contributes to the flexibility and resiliency of our entire energy system, complementing intermittent renewables like solar and wind. The European Commission already accepts the fact that using gas to produce electricity is an essential part of Europe’s energy mix, so why not give priority to high efficiency cogeneration?"
"Cogeneration can also contribute to the decarbonisation of heating and cooling in buildings, as well as supplying hot water and producing the high temperature process heat required by industry. CHP is already widely used in district heating networks and in numerous industries where there is significant potential for switching over from imported natural gas to renewable alternatives like biomethane and clean hydrogen. Supporting high efficiency cogeneration for district heating and industrial uses should be seen as complementing the increased uptake of heat pumps and other solutions."
COGEN Europe is calling on the European Union and its Member States to support solutions that enhance energy efficiency across the entire energy system (from generation to utilisation) and to prioritise high efficiency cogeneration for all thermally generated heat and power. The association is actively engaged in dialogue with Members of the European Parliament and officials from the national governments of the Member States with a view to ensuring that legislation currently being finalised in the framework of the 'Fit for 55' package (including the revised Energy Efficiency Directive) will neither discourage nor penalise the deployment of cogeneration technologies.
Many of COGEN Europe’s members have experience of developing and implementing cogeneration projects which use renewable and circular sources of energy such as green hydrogen, biogas made from agricultural waste, or heat captured from a steel production plant. Examples of successful projects in Belgium, Germany and Italy were presented during a webinar ('REPowerEU: The role of energy efficiency'), which was hosted by COGEN Europe yesterday (18 May).