EU urged to back industrial combined heat and power


17 Dec 2013


Trade & Society

Press release

European Parliament Vice-President Alejo Vidal-Quadras is drawing attention to the major market challenges facing the industrial combined heat and power (CHP) sector. In a question to the European Commission, the Spanish MEP asks what action is being taken to ensure that technologies such as CHP maintain and improve the energy competitiveness of industries in Europe.

European industry is a large consumer of energy (315 Mtoe per year), and combined heat and power offers businesses a way to reduce their bills and carbon footprint simultaneously. The parliamentary question argues that the EU has a long-term interest in developing all its energy-efficiency potential, pointing out that the European Union continues to support CHP through several directives, including the Energy Efficiency Directive.

Despite this, industrial CHP is currently facing major challenges as the electricity market continues its transition towards low-carbon power – a situation which is worsened by current high gas prices.

The parliamentary question stresses that member states’ current energy market policies could lead to decreasing use of CHP in a number of countries because of growing investor uncertainty and a lack of clearly-defined long-term policy structures, and goes on to ask what the Commission can do to support this higher productivity and lower carbon enabling technology in this difficult transitional period.

COGEN Europe Managing Director Fiona Riddoch said: “Industrial CHP is a key technology for energy cost savings and carbon reduction today, and is one of the vital tools enabling Europe’s industrial base to achieve the 2020 Strategy goals. A European cogeneration strategy can create thousands of jobs in Europe and build on existing technical strength in the sector. The industry employs over 100,000 European citizens today.”


For more information please contact:

Andrew Williams, Communication Manager
Tel: +32 2 775 9071

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About cogeneration: 

Cogeneration (also known as CHP or Combined Heat and Power) involves the simultaneous production of heat and electricity from a single plant which results in massive savings to the economy of primary energy and consequential reductions of GHG emissions.

Today, a significant 11.2 % of Europe’s electricity is generated using a vast array of proven and cost effective techniques (cumulative capacity > 100 GWe). About half of the heat produced is used in district heating network while the remaining half serves industrial needs.

Cogeneration units can be found in various sectors and sizes: in industries, households and tertiary buildings and in capacities ranging from a kilowatt to hundreds of MegaWatts of electricity output. CHP plants can draw upon a wide range of energy sources, from traditional fossil fuels to renewable energies (combustion-based units with biomass, biogases or bioliquids, or steam-based plant connected to geothermal or concentrated solar panel installations) that make them ready for the future energy system.

Realising the identified economic potential for cogeneration in Europe – estimated at 110-120 GWe additional – will be instrumental to reaching the EU’s strategic climate and energy goals, while underpinning job creation and being an engine to industrial competitiveness.

About COGEN Europe:

COGEN Europe is Europe’s umbrella organisation representing the interests of the cogeneration industry, users of the technology and promoting its benefits in the EU and the wider Europe. The association is backed by the key players in the industry including gas and electricity companies, ESCOs, equipment suppliers, consultancies, national promotion organisations, financial and other service companies. More information on