Cogeneration plants are decentralised, fossil or partially fossil fuelled plants. They generate both heat and electricity. During the winter months they can partially offset the seasonally induced reduction of production from solar energy and hydropower. They can be quickly switched on and off and can thus be operated in response to demand. They therefore contribute towards both the stability of the local distribution network and supply security.
With the new Federal Energy Act, the framework conditions were optimised for cogeneration plants which are not in the emissions trading system and have a rated thermal output of 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 percent of the CO2 levy will be refunded upon request. The remaining 40 percent will only be refunded if the operator can show that the plant has used the equivalent funding for energy-efficiency measures. Such measures can either be implemented in-house or in companies or facilities that draw electricity or heat from the cogeneration plant.
- Own consumption regulation: the own consumption regulation applies to cogeneration plants in the same way as for all other production facilities.
- Feed-in price for electricity: network operators are obliged to accept and remunerate all the electricity fed-in from from cogeneration plants. Small cogeneration plants have a maximum electrical output of 3 MW or feed a maximum of 5,000 MWh into the grid per year. The minimum remuneration is based on the current spot market ("day ahead") price for electricity.