White certificates for cogeneration

When we talk about “cogeneration”, a process that allows the simultaneous production of electrical and thermal energy from a single primary source, obtaining economic savings thanks to lower fuel consumption, we cannot ignore the important facilitation represented by incentives such as white certificates. But what are they exactly? What advantages do they represent and, above all, how can they be obtained?

How do the White Certificates work for cogeneration?

The white certificates (also known as Energy Efficiency Certificates-TEE) are subsidies introduced by Ministerial Decree of 24 April 2001, and have the purpose of encouraging the implementation of energy efficiency projects such as the adoption of cogeneration plants. As made known by the European Directive 2004/CE, these are defined as high efficiency (or CAR) when the value of primary energy saving (PES) is at least 10% or, in the case of micro-cogeneration units (< 50 kWe) or small cogeneration units (< 1 MWe), when it assumes any positive value. White certificates are awarded annually by the GSE, which first ensures that the efficiency has been achieved and then awards the relevant number of white certificates for the following 10 years: it also carries out a preliminary examination of units not yet in service and indicates any shortcomings or changes to be made if a project does not comply with the regulations.

The criteria for taking advantage of the benefits of high-efficiency cogeneration

As mentioned in the previous paragraph, a cogeneration plant can be defined as CAR if its efficiency exceeds a certain threshold which varies according to the power class of the cogeneration unit. The cogeneration units that can take advantage of these benefits are:

  • Those brought into operation as a result of new construction or renovation after March 6, 2007, for a period of 10 calendar years, beginning on January 1 of the year following the year of entry into operation.
  • Those brought into use as a result of new construction or renovation after 6 March 2007 and combined with a district heating network, for a period of 15 calendar years starting from 1 January of the year following their bringing into use.

How to obtain incentives with high-efficiency cogeneration

Every year the GSE verifies the CAR requirements and the allocation of TEE: to send your request for access to incentives, you must use only the RICOGE Portal, which allows you to upload all the data and documents needed to start the practice. It is also available a RICOGE User Manual to better understand all the steps of compilation and submission of documentation, which must be submitted every year by March 31 of the year following the production to which it refers. The preliminary documentation instead can be presented throughout the year. IBT, if the customer re-quests it, can be available for the preparation and presentation of the relative GSE practices for its own supplied plants.
The main benefits that current legislation recognizes to CAR are numerous, among which we find:

  • the precedence, in dispatching, of electricity produced from cogeneration over electricity produced from conventional sources;
  • tax relief on excise duty on methane gas used for cogeneration;
  • the possibility of accessing the on-site exchange service for electricity produced by High Yield Cogeneration plants with nominal power up to 200 kW;
  • the possibility of applying simplified technical and economic conditions for connection to the electricity grid;
  • the possibility of obtaining tariff concessions for plants powered by Renewable Energy Sources.