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Combined Heal And Power Scheme

Volume 978: debated on Monday 11 February 1980

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asked the Secretary of State for Energy when he expects to make an announcement concerning the implementation of the Marshall report on schemes for combined heat and power.

As I said on 14 January, the Government are carefully considering the issues raised in the Marshall report, but expect to be able to make an announcement shortly.

Will that announcement at least agree in principle that large quantities of energy can be saved by that method? Further, will it pay particular attention to the capital cost of laying hot mains, which is a point at issue?

The Marshall report clearly shows that CHP can save energy. When we first published the report I said that there were many other questions, and capital cost in urban areas is clearly crucial.

Does my hon. Friend agree that it is disappointing that the Department of Energy forecast that heat saved from power stations by the year 2000 will be only 2½million tons coal equivalent, bearing in mind that the amount of heat loss from power stations is between 60 million and 70 million tons coal equivalent, and that the Marshall report states that 15 million tons could be saved by the year 2000?

I approach all forecasts to the year 2000, including our own, with a degree of humility. There is a major difference between recognising the totality of potential energy saving and that which can be saved economically. We should wait just a little longer for the final report.

Does the Minister agree that, as a priority, we should use the enormous quantity of heat that is going to waste rather than create new capacity for electrical generation, when we already have a surplus?

As I said, there are many other considerations beyond the pure apparent saving in energy, such as technology and institutional planning. Those questions should be answered fully before we proceed in that direction.

Does my hon. Friend agree that it is reassuring that British industry has extensive and satisfactory experience of CHP? Will it be possible for the Government to get EEC funding or support for our efforts with CHP?

I am glad that my hon. Friend drew attention to our experience. About 15 per cent. of privately generated industrial electricity usage comes essentially from CHP. The background of involvement in the industrial sector is substantial. All financial avenues must be examined when we get down to specific proposals.