The current energy crisis is a heating crisis. Half of the European energy consumption goes to heating and cooling, and 42 percent of this demand is supplied by natural gas. Buildings are the largest consumers of natural gas, most of which is used for space and water heating.
Six months after the publication of the REPowerEU plan, signatories deplore the EU’s lack of focus on deploying renewable and clean heating and cooling technologies that can significantly contribute to reducing the use of natural gas in buildings and put Europe on the path to climate neutrality and energy independence.
The 10-point plan covers a range of measures, some of which may be integrated into the next batch of EU emergency measures. These include implementing mandatory heat planning for all cities or the EU-wide phase-out of individual boilers that use only fossil fuels.
The 10-point plan also underlines the necessity of upgrading the EU’s outdated heating and cooling strategy with concrete regulatory and financial instruments which will support the deployment of renewable heat solutions. These include solar heat and sustainable waste heat, as well as the roll-out of efficient heating technologies - for example, residential and large-scale heat pumps connected with district heating networks.
The latest European heating and cooling strategy was published in 2016, even before the EU committed to achieving climate neutrality before 2050, and is no longer fit for purpose.
'”Heat is half of the EU energy consumption and the main use of Russian gas” said Pedro Dias, Secretary General, Solar Heat Europe. “Therefore, policymakers must focus on the fast deployment of existing renewable heat technologies to solve the problems of energy security and affordability while contributing to decarbonisation. Solar heat offers a quick-to-deploy EU-made renewable solution that is non-dependent on critical minerals and creates jobs based in Europe’’.
Aurélie Beauvais, Managing Director, Euroheat & Power, added that efficient District Heating and Cooling is a proven solution to phase-out fossil fuel in buildings and shield consumers from soaring energy prices and that six months after the launch of the REPower EU, the EU must upgrade its emergency toolbox with concrete measures which accelerate the roll-out of clean heating technologies in buildings - mandatory heat planning, in particular, should be urgently introduced.
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