Cogeneration ball back in the Parliament’s court

The Council of Ministers adopted a common position on the future Cogeneration Directive, and forwarded it to the Parliament for its second reading.

The Council of Ministers on 1 September formally adopted its common position on the future cogeneration directive by written procedure, responding to the Commission’s reviewed proposal for a directive.

The Parliament had in its first reading adopted a report drafted by Norbert Glante (PSE, Germany), in which it had tabled numerous amendments to the initial proposal, mainly focusing on a definition for electricity produced by cogeneration, a methodology for comparing cogeneration with separate (i.e. traditional) production of heat and electricity in order to determine primary energy savings, and a target which stipulates that each Member State should achieve a cogeneration electricity output of at least 18% by 2012 (see

EURACTIV, 16 May 2003).

The Energy Council had given political agreement to the directive in its meeting on 14 May, when it agreed on the last outstanding issues. These included the question of grid access for electricity from cogeneration units of under 1 MWe and a system of methodologies for calculating the efficiency of cogeneration, adding three alternative methods to the Commission’s proposal, based on harmonised, rather than national, efficiency reference values.

On 23 July 2003, the Commission published a reviewed proposal which focused on facilitating grid access for small amounts of cogeneration electricity, transmission and distribution. On the question of assessing efficiency, the Commission introduced a methodology based on harmonised reference values instead of national ones. However, the new proposal keeps the original definition of cogeneration and the original formula for the calculation of primary energy savings.


Cogeneration is an efficient way of delivering heat, cooling and electricity. It is based on the simultaneous production of electricity and heat, both of which are used. The fundamental principle here is that systems should be based on the heat demand of the application, in order to maximise the benefits that cogeneration can create. Cogeneration, or "combined heat and power" (CHP) leads to reductions of CO2 emissions and better resource efficiency.

On 22 July 2002, the Commission published its draft cogeneration directive, aiming to promote cogeneration in order to contribute to the EU's security of energy supply and to support climate change policies. The objective is to remove barriers to cogeneration and to create a common understanding of the technology and its benefits. At the moment, some Member States already have support schemes and targets for cogeneration whilst others still have no provisions.


The formal Council position, based on the new Commission proposal, has now been forwarded to the Parliament for the second reading, where a report, due to be drafted by Norbert Glante (PES, Germany), is expected to be adopted in the plenary session in December 2003.

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