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Power Stations (Fuel Utilisationresearch)

Volume 889: debated on Monday 7 April 1975

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asked the Secretary of State for Energy whether he will make a statement on the progress of the research being undertaken at Harwell on more efficient utilisation of fuel in power stations by combining the generating of electricity with the sale of heat.

The combined generation of electricity and heat from power stations is primarily the responsibility of the electricity supply industry and no practical research is being undertaken at present at Harwell. However, some assessment work is being done by the Energy Technology Support Unit and by the Programmes Analysis Unit. Both units are stationed at Harwell.

When will the Department of Energy accept some responsibility and take the initiative in doing what is happening and has been happening for many years in other countries in Europe —that is, utilising waste heat for industry and domestic heating? How can it be satisfactory for the Minister continually to say in the House that this is not his responsibility but that of the Central Electricity Generating Board?

The hon. Gentleman is a bit out of date, and he should know better. A group on combined heat and power has been set up under the chairmanship of Dr. Marshall, the Chief Scientist. The group will consider the economic rôle of combined heat and power and identify obstacles to the fulfilment of that rôle. The group will report initially to the advisory council. I hope that the hon. Gentleman will agree that he was a bit too quick on the gun.