European leaders have been urged to focus on district heating and cooling if the bloc wants to succeed in achieving decarbonisation targets, while also saving billions of euros.
The advice was delivered at the EUSEW High Level Policy Conference Session “A Heat Action for 2030 and beyond” organised in Brussels by COGEN Europe and Euroheat & Power in collaboration with the Heat Coalition in mid-week.
The session was organised in advance of the forthcoming 2030 EU climate and energy policy framework at the Heat Coalition, which gathers 11 organisations at EU level with a stake in the heating and cooling sector.
According to the new study “Heat Roadmap 2050 II” the EU can save at least 100 billion EUR by addressing heating and cooling. Prof. Sven Werner of Halmstad University involved in the study said, “Even when energy efficiency improvements in the building envelope reach the limit of what is realistically feasible, heating and cooling demand will continue to exist in the future and therefore it has to be properly factored in any energy modelling done by the European Commission”.
On behalf of the incoming Presidency Ona Kostinaitė-Grinkevičienė, Lithuanian Energy Attaché, underlined the strategic importance of the heat sector, “More than two thirds of Lithuania’s citizens are served by district heating – an infrastructure serving as a pillar in our energy transition.
We expect that the proportion of renewable energy resources, notably biomass and waste, will comprise at least 60% in district heating by 2020. Bearing these numbers in mind, clearly the future of the European heating sector is important for us”.
Dr. Tim Rotheray from the UK Combined Heat and Power Association added, “In the UK we have experienced that just a CO2 target will not do the job. Integrated energy planning is key for a cost-effective transition to a low-carbon energy system. The future EU framework needs to target cost-effective primary energy savings in the system, tapping into the existing potential at the local level”.
Concrete examples from Klaipeda, Lithuania and Hannover, Germany, illustrate how to use smart solutions to decarbonise heating and cooling and their significant impacts. During the debate, the panelists highlighted the need for a comprehensive and long-lasting effort.
According to Wolfram Sparber, Vice-President of the RHC-Platform, “Research, Development and Innovation are the keys to unlocking the potential of renewable heating and cooling beyond 2020. It is crucial that at least 4 billion Euro is allocated to public-private R&D in the next 7 years”.
Meanwhile Gérard Magnin, Executive Director of Energy Cities also emphasised the imperative of making use of local infrastructure saying, “Heat sources are often available nearby and can take many forms: power plant, combined heat and power unit, waste incineration plant, free industrial heat, wastewater, data centres, etc. Local authorities should be the chief in orchestrating local heating and cooling strategy”.
Fiona Riddoch, Director of COGEN Europe, added, “By looking at different parts of the energy demand and supply in isolation, we may find solutions, but not the cheapest, fastest and best ones. Given EU’s growing concerns on competitiveness, addressing heating and cooling by taking an integrated view of the energy system is of paramount importance to help European industry stay competitive.