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Lack of subsidy for waste-fuelled CHP criticised

Energy-from-waste (EfW) schemes using combined heat and power (CHP) should be given the same Government support as biomass CHP, according to industry members.

The Department for Energy and Climate Change’s (DECC) introduction of a 4.1p tariff specifically for biomass in its Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) consultation response last December has been widely welcomed.

But the response also stated: “The biomass CHP tariff announced in this consultation will not be available for EfW CHP owing to the lower costs of feedstock.”

EfW CHP can still only receive a 2p tariff for its heat under the original RHI.

Speaking at an Associate Parliamentary Resource Group (APSRG) meeting on ‘The Role of Energy Support Schemes in the EfW Market’, Laurence Huerre, Veolia fuel and energy manager, alerted the panel to the exemption.

APSRG co-chairman Alan Whitehead, a Labour MP, said he was not aware of this issue.

Huerre told MRW: “We know doing a CHP scheme costs the same whatever the feedstock you are talking about.”

DECC recently announced funding to help 26 councils across England and Wales develop plans for new heat networks.

Huerre said the lack of subsidy for EfW CHP was not in line with the Government’s policy to promote these district heat networks.

“We really believe it should be lobbied against.”

Jonathan Graham, policy manager at the Combined Heat and Power Association (CHPA) told MRW: “A CHP scheme costs the same whatever its feedstock is, but the operation costs change quite a bit on the feedstock.”

Nevertheless he said: “We need to put policies in place that support EfW schemes to build and extend heat networks.

“The Government may consider support for heat networks in its review of the RHI this year, and such a change would be in line with everything the government is trying to do, which is decarbonise, introduce more energy efficiency, and deliver low carbon heat to urban areas at low cost.”

Renewable Energy Association head of policy Paul Thompson said: “It is easy to understand the frustrations of EfW developers given the discrepancy between the treatment of virgin and waste biomass.

“We will be in discussion with DECC over the course of this year about further potential improvements for the RHI.

“Any changes would take a while to come in, so this is really a longer-term argument about combining improvements to the policy with the next wave of funding from April 2016.”

Number of EfW CHP facilities:

According to DECC figures “Other fuels (liquids, solids or gases which are by-products or waste products from industrial processes) account for 17% of all fuel used in CHP in 2012.”

Usually, other fuels include: process by-products, coke oven gas, blast furnace gas, gas oil and refinery gas.

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