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On the draft Energy Infrastructure Package. Europe needs heating and cooling networks


15 Nov 2010


Sustainable Dev.

With a view to the imminent publication of the Energy Infrastructure Package, Euroheat & Power urges the European Commission to ensure coherence with the recently published Energy Strategy 2020, by including reference to and support for the establishment of district heating and cooling networks. The strategy rightly points out under Priority 1 that “efforts are needed to substantially increase the uptake of high efficiency cogeneration, district heating and cooling.’’

By recycling heat that otherwise would be wasted as well as using renewables, district heating and cooling provide degrees of efficiency to the overall energy system and replace direct use of fossil fuels. Smart heating and cooling networks are an essential precondition for exploiting synergies between electricity and heat production, between different sectors and urban functions. This includes acting as storage and buffer for excess wind electricity generation.

Therefore, Euroheat & Power calls for the systematic inclusion of local energy infrastructures in European infrastructure policy and financing instruments.
Considering heating and cooling as a local responsibility only, while electricity is considered as a European one, results in imbalances in financing and research priorities. Prioritizing European policies and earmarking investments for the heat market (a sleeping giant!), investing especially in district heating and other urban energy infrastructures, would yield long-term benefits for Europe. It would also result in long‐term affordable prices (as compared to highly volatile prices on the global fuel markets). Long‐term commitment, policies and funding by the EU and national governments for decentralized energies would give an impetus to energy efficiency and renewables, while keeping the overall energy expenses for households low. Climate and sustainability proofing for all EU investments are welcome, but further earmarking of ERDF, of research funds and of income from auctioning of carbon allowances under the ETS will be necessary to achieve local energy infrastructure renewal.

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Notes to editors:

Euroheat & Power is the international association of District Heating & Cooling, representing the district heating and cooling (DHC) sector in Europe and beyond, covering all aspects related to District Heating and District Cooling and related
energy sources and technologies.

District heating & district cooling (‘District energy’) The fundamental idea behind modern district heating is to recycle this surplus heat which otherwise would be wasted- from electricity production, from fuel and biofuel-refining, and from different industrial processes. Furthermore, district heating can make use of the many kinds of renewables (biomass, geothermal, solar thermal).