Combined heat and power plants (CHP plants) are decentralized, fossil or partially fossil fueled plants. They generate both heat and electricity. During winter months they can partially compensate for the seasonally reduced production of solar and hydropower. Since they can be quickly switched on and off, they can be operated demand-driven. They thus contribute to the stability of the local distribution network and to security of supply.
With the new energy law, the framework conditions for heat and power plants which are not in the emissions trading system and have a rated thermal input between 0.5 and 20 MW:
- Exemption from the CO2 levy for the electricity fed into the grid: For the fuels demonstrably used for the production of the additional electricity, 60% of the CO2 levy will be refunded upon request. The remaining 40 percent will only be refunded if the plant operator proves that he has used the equivalent funds for energy efficiency measures. Such measures can either be implemented in-house or in companies or plants that draw electricity or heat from the heat-and-power plant.
- Self-consumption regulation: The self-consumption regulation applies for combined heat and power plants as for all other electricity generator technologies.
- Feed-in price for electricity from CHP plants: The distribution grid operators are obliged to take all the electricity from small CHP plants at a fixed price. Small CHP systems have an electrical output of no more than 3 MW electric power or a feed-in maximum of 5000 MWh per year. The minimum remuneration is based on the current spot market price ("day ahead") for electricity.