The annual conference of the Combined Heat and Power Association (CHPA) saw Greg Barker MP, Minister of State for Energy and Climate Change give the keynote address.
Referring to government initiatives including the Green Deal and Renewable Heat Incentive, he outlined the commitment intended to help unlock the potential of local, distributed energy, across the UK.
The Government’s desire to see distributed generation becoming more commonplace and providing a more effective use of technology and resources was also described.
“We want market reform to create new opportunities to crowd in billions in new investment and an army of new players, participating in a dynamic new paradigm for the sector, just as we did with privatisation in the 1980s,” said Mr Barker
“We have to own this bold vision and have a clear strategy to deliver. Our vision of a decentralised energy economy must give confidence to the market.”
He opened his address by stating that CHP was now a vital part of the economy, further stating that government commitment was now providing a clear message to investors and financial incentives would encourage more use of greener energy options.
Graham Meeks, director of CHPA sector trade association, CHPA, said: “This is not just a bold vision for the energy sector, but also a realistic and pragmatic one. It has the potential to unlock the enormous opportunity for CHP and district heating in homes, communities and industry across the country.
“CHP is already turning many consumers into active stakeholders in the energy market – helping them to secure affordable, low-carbon energy supplies. But there is no question that the current electricity market has been more of a hindrance than a help, and we know that CHP and district heating have much more value to offer in the energy system of the future.
“With electricity market reforms built upon Greg Barker’s vision, we could be sharing an ambition with Government to double the capacity of CHP in the UK by the end of this decade.”
Dr Doug Parr, Greenpeace UK chief scientist, a delegate at Integrated Energy 2010, said: “Efficient energy use has to be the centrepiece of a low carbon economy. With the upcoming Energy Market Reform, Government has the chance to create opportunities for new players in the energy industry to drive efficiency and emissions reductions in Britain’s draughty buildings.”
The conference continued with further presentations, discussions and seminars throughout the day, followed by the CHPA gala dinner and awards ceremony in the evening.