Power station guidance disappoints CHP sector

The long-awaited revision of the Government's guidance requiring power station developers to consider using combined heat and power was published in draft form in September.1

Other than referring developers to a forthcoming UK-wide "heat map", the guidance contains little new and is still "rather loose and weak" according to the Combined Heat and Power Association.

The current guidance was launched in March 2001, following a moratorium on new gas-fired power stations (ENDS Report 315, p 50 ).

The energy White Paper in February 2003 promised to review the guidance. The draft changes have now emerged at a time when a new generation of gas fired stations seems a real possibility.

Although the Government "recognises that CHP will not always be a practical or economic option", it expects developers to "seriously explore" opportunities to utilise heat when developing new power stations.

Developers must provide evidence of the steps they had taken to assess the viability of CHP opportunities "within the vicinity of their proposed location for the plant".

The draft guidance requires developers to provide "an explanation of their choice of location" - although it does not require them to prove that an assessment of heat markets played a part in their decision.

It points out that these requirements are consistent with both the integrated pollution prevention and control Directive and the large combustion plant directive - which requires that the technical and economic feasibility of providing for CHP are examined.

Perhaps the main change from the earlier guidance is that developers must demonstrate that they have properly considered official "heat maps" which Future Energy Solutions is currently drawing up for the Government.

Although the Government previously promised to have the maps ready in time for the consultation, they will now only be available when the final version of the guidance is published. Syed Ahmed from the CHPA says that it leaves the industry no chance to provide feedback on what sort of information would be useful to developers.

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