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EC initiative to urgently enact emergency measures signals the need for faster decarbonisation

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The European Commission’s initiative to urgently enact emergency measures against skyrocketing energy prices signals the need for a faster decarbonisation of our energy system, according to trade association Solar Heat Europe.
EC initiative to urgently enact emergency measures signals the need for faster decarbonisation
Image courtesy of James Day, Unsplash.

Since 2021, Europe has been facing a challenging energy crisis, that has been made more complex by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Gas and electricity prices are skyrocketing, putting the security, competitiveness, and decarbonisation of Europe at danger.

With a worrying outlook for the upcoming winter, the European Union and the Member States must take action to protect consumers and businesses says Solar Heat Europe.

The trade association welcomes the Commission’s initiative to urgently evaluate emergency measures, which was announced by President von der Leyen on September 7th and discussed by national ministers during today’s Extraordinary Energy Council meeting.

“EU member states are making a huge effort to address the skyrocketing energy prices” said Costas Travasaros, President of Solar Heat Europe. “This is an essential effort. Still, it is, in its essence, palliative care. We need to continue the therapy that will bring a cure to our energy system, and that is decarbonisation.”

First, reducing gas consumption and electricity demand alleviate the pressure on energy prices. To do so, the Heating & Cooling sector is of paramount importance, as it represents half of the final energy consumption in the EU and the main use of gas. Today, it is even more evident that a higher focus must be placed on renewable heating and cooling technologies, such as solar heat.

Secondly, the energy transition must be accelerated. Emergency measures are needed to face the current crisis, but they should not undermine Europe’s strategy to decarbonise the energy sector. Europe’s dependency on fossil fuels is the cause of this crisis, while renewables are the solution. Therefore, the EU and the Member States must step up their efforts to enable a massive and quick deployment of renewable sources, both for electricity and heat generation. A relevant example for solar heat is the swift adoption and implementation of the Solar Rooftop Initiative proposed as part of REPowerEU, to ensure that the use of solar technologies on rooftops is substantially increased.

Third, while implementing essential support measures to protect consumers and companies, it is key to ensure transparency on the use of financial resources. End-users should not be left alone facing the energy crisis, but they must be aware of what caused the crisis in the first place, namely Europe’s dependency on fossil fuels and, in particular, Russian gas. Therefore, the costs related to initiatives to reduce the burden on citizens and companies should be communicated in a clear and transparent way to taxpayers.

“We provide a sustainable and competitive solution that contributes to reduce both electricity and gas consumption” added Pedro Dias, Secretary General of Solar Heat Europe. “Solar heat generation costs are as low as  30 euros/MWh and the cumulative thermal energy storage capacity exceeds 180 GWh. These factor place solar thermal as a key contributor to cover demand for space and water heating, using EU made renewable energy solutions.”

For additional information:

Solar Heat Europe

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