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Heating and cooling overlooked by EU Energy Roadmap

Although heating and cooling represents by far the largest share (43%) of the final energy consumption in Europe, it has been largely overlooked in the EU Energy Roadmap 2050.

By Kari Williamson

As a result, the Roadmap fails to deliver a coherent and future-proof vision, according to 11 representatives of the European heating and cooling sector, including the European Biomass Association.

The signatories

  1.  European Biomass Association (AEBIOMI)
  2. Cecodhas Housing Europe – federation of social, cooperative and public housing, a network of national and regional social housing federations
  3. CEWEP – the European umbrella association of waste-to-energy plants
  4. European Association for the Promotion of Cogeneration (COGEN)
  5. European Federation of Intelligent Energy Efficiency Services (EFIEES)
  6. European Geothermal Energy Council (EGEC)
  7. Association of the European Heating Industry (EHI)
  8. European Heat Pump Association (EHPA)
  9. Energy Cities – the European sssociation of local authorities inventing their energy future
  10. European Solar Thermal Industry Federation (ESTIF)
  11. Euroheat & Power – representing the district heating and cooling (DHC) sector in Europe and beyond

The Roadmap acknowledges that renewable heating and cooling is vital to de-carbonisation and that a cost-optimal policy choice between insulating buildings and systematically using waste-heat needs to be found. Yet, a thorough analysis of the heating and cooling sector is omitted.

Further analysis needed

Mapping out the future of the European energy system requires a more holistic approach involving all forms of energy (i.e. heat, transport and electricity) and which fully reflects their interdependencies.

Neglecting the production and use of thermal energy inevitably leads to distorted results, in particular to a complete reliance on electricity in de-carbonising the energy sector, leaving aside possibilities to simply meet heating and cooling demands by direct use of renewable and waste heat sources.

As a consequence, the EU would have to rely on potential technological breakthroughs such as carbon capture and storage and massive grid reinforcement, the signatories warn.

For the successful development of a post-2020 energy policy framework, Europe needs to understand thermal energy flows within and across sectors, i.e. how buildings are heated and cooled, in which form heat is used to drive industrial processes and how thermal energy can generate electricity.

Need heating and cooling policy

The signatories urge the EU and its Member States to adopt and to swiftly execute an ambitious European heating and cooling policy.

To achieve a better overall energy integration, replete with significant economic opportunities, political measures and infrastructure funding must be directed towards local low and no-carbon solutions already available.

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Bioenergy  •  Energy efficiency  •  Geothermal  •  Green building  •  Policy, investment and markets  •  Solar heating and cooling