Cogeneration and district heating can benefit from the unspent EU economic recovery funds

Date

07 May 2010

Sections

Energy

Energy commissioner Günther Oettinger, speaking at this week’s first anniversary of the Covenant of Mayors, has proposed that unspent EU economic recovery funds currently amounting to €115m should be directed to regional and local sustainable energy efficiency and renewables projects. This would mean that funds will become available for small-scale cogeneration and district heating projects in the urban environment. COGEN Europe welcomes this initiative and encourages the Commission to further extend the finance directed at energy efficiency and cogeneration.

Cogeneration and district heating are technologies that are energy efficient, help to reduce energy costs, and are traditionally found in the urban environment. Many cities and towns in Europe use district heating to supply their citizens on a large-scale with heat and cooling, whereas micro and small-scale cogeneration units are found in homes, swimming pools, offices and hospitals.

“The funds are a welcome start“, Fiona Riddoch, Managing Director of COGEN Europe, says. “Faced with the current financial challenges, Europe needs to invest wisely and locally. Energy efficiency and particularly cogeneration is a shrewd and stable investment with significant payback in energy savings, which is what Europe needs in the near term”.

Mr Oettinger proposes putting the unspent recovery package funds into a separate pot for energy efficiency and renewables to be managed by an organisation such as the European Investment Bank. The Commission would still set the eligibility criteria for the funds' use and will kick off an internal debate on the issue in the next few weeks.

This issue of funding will – among other pressing topics – be discussed at the upcoming Joint Annual Conference of COGEN Europe and Euroheat&Power on 2 June in Brussels (www.conference2010.eu). The two organisations emphasize the strong common policy ground they share in focusing on an integrated approach to the supply of heat and electricity. This very special one-day Conference brings together representatives of both sectors who will highlight that both district heating and cogeneration systems are vital in achieving the ambitious energy and climate goals set by Europe by 2020 and beyond.

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