Support system: CHP certificates

Since 1 January 2005, a combined heat and power (CHP) certificate system is in operation in the Flemish Region for the promotion of primary energy savings through the use of qualitative CHP facilities for the generation of electricity and heat.

This is a two-pronged system. On the one hand each electricity supplier is obligated to ensure a minimum electricity share from qualitative CHP facilities. On the other hand owners of high efficient CHP facilities (COGENERATION producers) can request combined heat and power certificates from VREG.


The following technologies are accepted to generate high efficient heat and power in the Flemish Region, on the condition they meet the quality criteria:

  • Back pressure steam turbine
  • Steam condensing extraction turbine
  • Gas turbine with heat recovery
  • Steam and gas turbine with heat recovery
  • Internal combustion engine
  • Stirling engine
  • Fuel cell
  • Steam engine
  • Organic Rankine Cycle

Other technologies and combinations thereof that satisfy the definition of CHP facility in accordance with the Electricity decree, namely "the creation in a single process of heat and electricity and/or mechanical energy".

The issuing of CHP certificates

CHP producers can obtain CHP certificates from the VREG for the primary energy savings achieved by CHP facilities in the Flemish Region, that satisfy the conditions for qualitative CHP facilities.

A CHP certificate proves that 1.000 kilowatt hours (kWh) primary energy were saved in a high efficient CHP facility compared to a situation in which the same quantity of electricity and/or mechanical energy and heat are generated separately. Combined heat and power producers who are awarded a CHP certificate will not receive it in paper form. The certificates are issued by VREG in a central database, which can be consulted by producers via the Internet.

Producers can sell these CHP certificates to electricity suppliers that have to meet their certificate obligation. If the CHP producer is also an electricity supplier, he can use his own certificates to meet the certificate obligation.

For detailed information see Combined heat and power producers (Dutch)

CHP Certificate obligation

Minimum electricity share from high efficient cogeneration

Since 2005 each electricity supplier in Flanders is obligated to contribute to the saving of a specific quantity of primary energy by means of high efficient cogeneration. The quantity of primary energy to be saved corresponds to a specific minimum electricity share of the total supplied to customers. In 2005 this minimum share amounted to 1,19%. This obligation is 11,2% for 2018 and the coming years.

CHP certificates as proof of compliance with the minimum electricity share from high efficient cogeneration

Annually, electricity suppliers are to submit a specific number of CHP certificates to VREG before 31 March of the following year. This obligation is 11,2% for 2018 and the coming years.

The number of CHP certificates to be submitted by an electricity supplier is referred to as the supplier's CHP certificate obligation. Annually VREG calculates the number of CHP certificates to be submitted by each supplier in order to meet this certificate obligation. VREG will inform the supplier of this number, after which the supplier is to submit this number of CHP certificates to VREG.

If a supplier is also a cogeneration producer and saves primary energy by making use of high efficient combined heat and power, he can apply for CHP certificates for the primary energy savings achieved by his own facilities. In the other case they can purchase CHP certificates on the market from cogeneration producers.

Producers can obtain CHP certificates by applying for them at the Flemish Energy Agency VEA ,who judges the application and calculates the amount of certificates to be issued, and passes on this information to VREG for the issuing of certificates.

Acceptability of CHP-certificates

Not all CHP certificates can be used to meet the CHP certificate obligation.

VREG only accepts certificates awarded for primary energy savings achieved by making use of a high efficient CHP facility situated in the Flemish Region and put into operation after - or significantly altered after - 1 January 2002.

For the first four years after the date of start-up of a CHP facility, CHP certificates are awarded for the full primary energy savings. From the fifth year after start-up, CHP certificates that can be used for the certificate obligation will be awarded for X% of the primary energy savings. For the remaining part of the primary energy savings (100-X%) certificates will be awarded that cannot be used for the certificate obligation.

CHP certificates are managed in the central VREG database.

Administrative fine

If an electricity supplier submits the correct number of CHP certificates, they meet their CHP certificate obligation. If they submit too few certificates, they have to pay an administrative fine of 38 euro per missing CHP certificate.

The administrative fine is to be paid to the Energy fund. This fund can be used by the Flemish Government for the financing of its cogeneration policy, among others.

For detailed information see Combined heat and power producers (Dutch).