Europe’s cogeneration potential is still under-exploited. The European Commission’s European Green Deal and the EU Recovery Fund give new impetus to step up the investments needed for energy efficiency in Europe.
Cogeneration has an important role to play in building a more efficient, more integrated, carbon neutral, and lower cost European energysystem. Before investing in new production capacities, we need to harness all energy saving solutions. One of these solutions is cogeneration where heat and electricity are simultaneously generated. The EU needs to support this solution to make the most of the valuable fuels of the future, including green hydrogen. Europe’s target of 40% renewable energies in heat production will require the use of all low-carbon sources: renewable energies, waste heat, and heat recovered from non-recyclable waste, explained Kamila Waciega.
In concrete terms, Veolia produced some 45 million megawatt hours of energy and converted 50 million tonnes of waste into heat and electricity in 2019. It operates 7,000 km of district heating networks spread over 595 sites, most of which are equipped with cogeneration units.
For example, in Slovakia, Veolia supports the town of Žiar nad Hronom, heated by environmentally friendly and sustainable heat: its cogeneration from biomass, combined with natural gas, has a 50 Gwh heat and 135.5 MW electricity generation capacity. It supplies 6,600 homes and 60 buildings, representing 70% of the population connected to a 32 km network.