36th Euroheat & Power Congress – Looking out across the changing energy landscape!

Date: 28/05/2013

At the opening of the world´s leading district energy event – 36th Euroheat & Power1 Congress – politicians and high level industry representatives spoke of the need to secure the further growth of the DHC sector and how to finance efficiency investments in line with the EU’s 2050 target of an almost no-carbon energy supply.

Opening the Congress, Frédéric Hug, President of Euroheat & Power stressed “As international umbrella organisation for the sector, Euroheat & Power welcomes the intention of politicians worldwide to focus more on the contribution sustainable heating and cooling networks offer to future smart cities. With this Congress we hope to inspire all stakeholders on how to redesign the European heat supply with a view to achieving an energy system that effectively and efficiently delivers cheaper comfort, faster decarbonisation and better energy”.

Marc Hall, Wiener Stadtwerke Holding AG expressed his satisfaction of seeing this important event in Vienna “With its 1.7 million inhabitants the Austrian capital Vienna is one of the best examples of urban quality of life in the world. The Vienna District Heating system is among the cornerstones of the city’s ambitious climate protection programme…The Spittelau waste incineration plant, one of the core elements of the Vienna District Heating system, is a prime example in this context … The plant produces green thermal energy, which is fed into the District Heating grid and helps cut greenhouse gas emissions from the heating of buildings.”

A lively panel debate followed the opening session. The panel addressed the fundamental issue of soaring fuel costs versus financing of efficiency investments in line with the EU’s 2050 target of almost no-carbon energy supply.

Further discussion surrounded the substitution of high polluting and pricy fossil fuels with lesser polluting types. It was confirmed that District Heating and Cooling should play a major role particularly in energy efficiency measures.

“An integrated and more holistic approach to energy efficiency at a territorial level should be adopted. It is not sufficient to use the Structural Funds simply to treat individual buildings; there is also a need to use the funds to finance the upgrading of the environment in which the buildings are located in an integrated and fully planned series of actions to ensure the creation of energy efficient districts and neighborhoods” said Laura Vanhué, Expert EU financing.

Eva Hoos, DG Energy, European Commission, stressed that “We need to focus on saving primary energy along the whole chain not only to protect our climate, but also to benefit economically by having more energy efficiency and to reduce our dependence on energy imports”, she said. “We won’t achieve this without addressing heating and cooling as it plays an important role in this context”.

“The current situation on the electricity wholesale market is a hybrid of market and subsidies. The policy on subsidies for renewable electricity basically constitutes a form of regulation; prices are no longer set purely according to supply and demand. Other forms of energy generation including sustainable combined heat and power generation are coming increasingly under pressure – and this despite the fact that they are badly needed. This has to be resolved quickly on a European and national level.” indicated Robert Grüneis, General Manager Wien Energie GmbH and Wien Energie Fernwärme.

Over 250 people are attending the 36th EHP Congress, which runs over 3 days until 29 May 2013. The sessions are accompanied by an exhibition with over 20 companies and projects present. See also www.ehpcongress.org