Advantages of CHP
CHP is first and foremost an energy efficiency technology. It provides a means to substantially reduce fuel, or ‘primary energy’, consumption without compromising the quality and reliability of the energy supply to consumers. Consequently it provides a cost-effective means of generating low-carbon or renewable energy.
The energy savings delivered by CHP are underpinned in law and through supporting regulations. The EU Cogeneration Directive defines CHP as delivering minimum levels of primary energy savings, with savings of 10% required for most CHP capacity. This legal requirement, which must be met to qualify for most forms of public support, is enacted in the UK through the CHP Quality Assurance (CHPQA) programme. Energy savings secured are however typically often far greater than this minimum threshold.
The efficiency benefits of CHP go on to provide a range of wider advantages. Delivering the same energy more efficiently, using less fuel in the process reduces energy costs, enhances security of our energy supply and helps mitigate our dependence on imported fuels.
As we move towards a lower-carbon future CHP also presents the opportunity to secure cost-effective reductions in CO2 emissions. The scale and cost of these savings will of course vary with respect to the scale, fuel and type of CHP plant, and in relation to the benchmark that is being used for comparison. But the proven potential is substantial.
Today’s CHP systems are based predominantly upon existing, proven power generation technologies: steam turbines, gas turbines and reciprocating engines used the world over to generate energy. This use and adaptation of existing technology not only contributes to the relatively low cost of CHP, but also ensures that it is a proven and reliable technology, capable of delivering an immediate impact in transforming our energy system.
Benefits of CHP
CHP provides the following direct benefits:
These in turn deliver a range of beneficial outcomes: