EU Heating and Cooling Strategy: A path to decarbonising homes and industry

11-05-2016

The EU Heating and Cooling Strategy, which is part of the European Commission's Sustainable Energy Security Package, presents a vision for an EU which has decarbonised buildings and industry, maximises the use of energy released from waste heat and cold in industry, and encourages district heating. Although the strategy does not announce any new legislative proposals, it presents some steps the European Commission may consider in the process of revising existing energy legislation, both to improve implementation and to align it with 2030 climate and energy targets. The Commission has announced it would look to improve the financing of building stock renovations and simplify improvements in rented apartments and multi-apartment buildings. The Commission suggests industry could achieve efficiency gains of 4-10% with existing technologies, but does not introduce any binding targets. However, according to its vision, surplus heat and cold from industrial processes would in future be reused in district heating and cooling systems, with a special contribution from cogeneration plants producing heat and power in a highly energy-efficient process. Today, biomass is the most widely used renewable source for heating in all sectors, yet its use is not problem-free. Furthermore, some stakeholders question the economic feasibility of investing in new district and cooling systems, while others point to inconsistencies between the Heating and Cooling Strategy and the Energy Security Package in its sections referring to the security of gas supply.

The EU Heating and Cooling Strategy, which is part of the European Commission's Sustainable Energy Security Package, presents a vision for an EU which has decarbonised buildings and industry, maximises the use of energy released from waste heat and cold in industry, and encourages district heating. Although the strategy does not announce any new legislative proposals, it presents some steps the European Commission may consider in the process of revising existing energy legislation, both to improve implementation and to align it with 2030 climate and energy targets. The Commission has announced it would look to improve the financing of building stock renovations and simplify improvements in rented apartments and multi-apartment buildings. The Commission suggests industry could achieve efficiency gains of 4-10% with existing technologies, but does not introduce any binding targets. However, according to its vision, surplus heat and cold from industrial processes would in future be reused in district heating and cooling systems, with a special contribution from cogeneration plants producing heat and power in a highly energy-efficient process. Today, biomass is the most widely used renewable source for heating in all sectors, yet its use is not problem-free. Furthermore, some stakeholders question the economic feasibility of investing in new district and cooling systems, while others point to inconsistencies between the Heating and Cooling Strategy and the Energy Security Package in its sections referring to the security of gas supply.