Government is consulting on the role of combined heat and power (CHP) plants in a net zero economy.
CHP plants burn fuel – mostly gas, plus some biomass and a bit of waste – to produce power. The heat is captured and if fed into a heat network, can be more efficient than producing heat and power separately.
If plant meet the government’s quality assurance scheme for energy efficiency and environmental performance, they are deemed to produce ‘good quality’ heat and power and qualify for higher rates of subsidy, some £531m per annum paid to 1,226 CHP plant owners as of 2018.
CHP, which is dispatchable, can also help provide necessary flexibility in an energy system that will be dominated by renewables.
However, most installations still have a significant carbon footprint and can increase air pollution.
Government modelling suggests that by 2032, gas CHP could start to edge out lower carbon technologies, thereby increasing the UK’s carbon footprint.
The department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (Beis) wants to avoid this outcome and the consultation looks at fuel switching and technology developments, as well as policy support measures.
Hydrogen and carbon capture and storage are mooted.
See the consultation here.