This figure will require a doubling of CHP capacity to 10,000MW. DEFRA noted that there is economic potential to provide 17 per cent of the UK's total energy requirement from CHP by 2010 but this may not be realised in practice.
The figures were published in two reports from DEFRA as part of the requirements of the European Commission's cogeneration directive. Increasing UK CHP capacity should yield considerable environmental and economic benefits, the department claimed.
But the Combined Heat and Power Association (CHPA) insisted that only a further 1,000 MW is achievable by 2010 without government intervention.
CHPA associate Mike King explained: "Power station developers should be obliged to make heat produced by electricity generation available to local users." This would encourage power stations to be sited closer to where heat can be used, he maintained.
"The planning policy statement on climate change should enable local authorities to oblige developers to connect to sustainable energy networks," he added.
A DEFRA spokeswoman said policy reforms outlined in the planning white paper will provide an opportunity to look at how the development of large-scale, low-carbon energy infrastructure such as CHP is promoted.