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Tories give backing to CHP technology

The Tories have committed to the introduction of feed-in tariffs to promote small-scale renewables and the capture of waste heat in a move the industry says could have a “transformational effect” on combined heat and power technology.

The Conservatives made the commitment as part of a package of measures to tackle the UK energy crisis, outlined in their new policy paper entitled Rebuilding Security.

The long-awaited green paper, which has been billed as the biggest shake-up of energy policy in a generation, also proposed the introduction of a carbon floor price and a green infrastructure bank.

The proposed bank would consolidate the existing sources of public investment, such as the
Carbon Trust and the Marine Renewables Deployment Fund, within a single institution.

Shadow energy and climate change secretary Greg Clark claimed it would provide a clearer focus for prospective investors as to where to go for help, as well as leverage in external investment, and would ensure that public funds deployed are focused and efficiently managed.

But energy and climate change secretary Ed Miliband described the Tory policy as “simplistic and not thought through”. “Their muchtouted ‘green’ bank would be the first bank ever to be set up without any new money in it,” he claimed.

Chancellor Alistair Darling this week announced Labour would set up a similar fund, which  would control an initial £2 billion worth of equity. The bank would be half-funded by public sector asset sales, including the Channel Tunnel rail link, with the remaining cash to be put forward by private investors.

Mr Darling added: “The fund will focus first on investing in green transport and sustainable energy, in particular offshore wind power, where Britain is already the world
leader.”

Meanwhile the Tories have also pointed to decentralised energy – including CHP, waste heat capture, biomass, biogas, geothermal and microgeneration technologies – as potentially making an increased contribution to Britain’s production of both electricity and heat.

Mr Clark said: “We are committed to the introduction of feed-in tariffs to promote small-scale renewables and the capture of waste heat.

“We will [also] give local councils the power to identify areas that would be suitable for district energy schemes – such as those adjacent to heat-generating industrial facilities – and allow them to use the planning framework to promote integrated district heating schemes
for those areas.”

Combined Heat and Power Association director Graham Meeks described the green paper as “a
progressive and pragmatic agenda, which we could work with if the Conservatives come to power”.

He said: “The Conservative’s specific commitment to use a feed-in tariff to promote the capture of waste heat could have a transformational effect for CHP and is very welcome.
“The proposals to create a Green Investment Bank could also be instrumental in driving development of integrated district heating infrastructure.

“Taken together these two policy strands are likely to deliver substantial cost, efficiency and environmental benefits for the UK.”