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Cogeneration's role in boosting EU supply security: time to revisit this no-regret policy path


30 May 2014


PRESS RELEASE: Brussels, 28 May 2014

The publication today of the EU’s new Energy Security Strategy[1] puts energy efficiency firmly on the EU security of supply agenda and re-emphasises the fundamental importance of making further energy efficiency efforts in Europe in the next EU institutional cycle.
“The more we are able to turn fuel input to useful energy (whether in the form of electricity or heat), the better we are in terms of energy independence,” said COGEN Europe Managing Director Fiona Riddoch. “Europe must put more emphasis on efficiency all along the energy supply chain and on an integrated approach to energy supply. It is vital to consider both heat and electricity, and to make the most of near-term solutions like cogeneration,” Riddoch added.
Cogeneration, also known as combined heat and power (CHP), provides the link to making more efficient use of imported energy through its integrated approach to heat and electricity supply. In terms of timing and availability, cogeneration solutions are readily available in Europe and can be deployed in what the European Commission calls the medium term.
Eurostat figures[2] on imported gas show that around 32% of natural gas imports in 2010 originated from Russia. Of this, 75% of the gas was used for heat. Two thirds of that was used in space heating, mainly for heating but some for cooling, and one third in industry for high temperature heat and steam. This highlights the important role of heat demand in energy use as a whole.
Cogeneration is recognised as a means of boosting the competitiveness of a wide range of industries and SMEs by making more efficient use of fuel, giving added value to the fuel consumed and saving 10-25% of energy imports at system level compared to separate generation of electricity and heat.
On 21 May, the International Energy Agency (IEA) released a new study entitled ‘Linking Heat and Electricity Systems’[3]. IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven said “cogeneration and efficient district heating and cooling (DHC) can support an integrated energy system by providing a flexible link between electricity and thermal energy while delivering enhanced energy efficiency”.
COGEN Europe urges member states to identify the significant opportunities for efficiency improvements in their own energy transformation system through their current implementation of the Energy Efficiency Directive and to revisit the strengths of this no-regret solution.

[1] European Commission Communication: European Energy Security Strategy (28 May 2014)

[2] Source: Eurostat Pocketbooks – Energy, transport and environment indicators (2013 edition)

[3] IEA Study: Linking Heat and Electricity Systems (21 May 2014)

For more information please contact:

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

Follow us on Twitter: @COGENEurope
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


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