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The European Strategy on Heating and Cooling: the opening of a door that the European Commission and Member States must rapidly walk through.

Date

16 Feb 2016

Sections

Energy
Sustainable Dev.

Brussels, 16 February 2016 – The European Solar Thermal Industry Federation (ESTIF) welcomes the publication of the European Strategy on Heating and Cooling.  This is an important milestone to improve the policy framework for the solar thermal sector, as it sets the direction for the incoming EU legislative revisions for 2016.

The long-awaited Strategy on Heating and Cooling has been released today by the European Commission. It engages the EU in a series of actions to promote the decarbonisation of the heating and cooling sector, including a reinforced promotion of renewable heating and cooling.

In particular, the Strategy calls for a ‘comprehensive approach to speed up the replacement of obsolete fossil fuel boilers with efficient renewable heating technologies’. The  Strategy rightly recognises synergies between renewable  heating  and  cooling  and  energy  efficiency  measures,  such  as  building refurbishment.  It also recognizes  the  relevance  of  packages  of  space  and  water  heating  systems  under  the  energy  labelling framework. These packages can be combined with solar thermal to  reach  the  best available technology class (A+++), particularly  in the case of water heating,  where  such packages can only be composed  using  a  solar thermal system.

We welcome the fact that consumers are put at the centre of EU’s energy policy. We hope these will become more than words, recognising and addressing the  decentralised dimension of the heating and cooling sectorand the need to engage and support consumers in operating a vital change towards renewable heating and cooling in their homes. Placing consumers at the centre of the energy system also means providing them with diverse options for their heating and cooling. Hence the references to electrification need to be balanced  with the  need  of  not  overwhelming  consumers  on  their  future  energy  bills  or  tax  payers  with  unnecessary infrastructural investments on power grids, while ensuring an effective decarbonisation.

The Strategy rightly points out the need for the decarbonisation of heat for industrial processes, although it falls short in properly identifying tools and solutions to be addressed. Recently, Commissioner  Cañete called  for  the  need  to  unlock  the  great  potential  of  renewable  heating and cooling, and recognized its central role  within the Strategy. The Commission is now called to a consistency exercise over the ‘year of delivery’: intentions stated in the Strategy must be transposed into legislative actions. The role of solar thermal as a key technology to promote a rapid and cost-efficient switch from inefficient boilers must be fully promoted across the future Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency, and Energy Performance of Buildings Directives. The Commission must pursue its intentions and push  for  Member States to focus  their incentives  on  non-fossil  fuel  based  heating  and  cooling  technologies  such  as  solar  thermal,  and  develop synergies between renewable heating and cooling and energy efficiency, including on financing measures such as the Smart Financing for Smart Building Initiative.

ESTIF Secretary General, Pedro Dias, commenting on the news, said:  ‘the Strategy shows  that  finally the EU institutions  are  acknowledging  the importance of the heating and cooling sector, and in particular the need to decarbonise it using renewable heating and cooling in combination with energy efficiency at local, decentralised level”.  He  added:  ‘ While  time  runs  short  for  reaching  the  2020  targets  and  we  set  in  place  the  regulatory frameworks  towards  2030,  we  must ensure  that  the  Commission  and  Member  States  are  able  to  promote consistency between our decarbonisation goals,  the Energy Union Strategy, this Heating and Cooling strategy and the renewable heating and cooling potential to generate economic growth and jobs’.

View the whole EU Strategy on Heating and Cooling here.

More information and contacts:

Stefano Lambertucci, Policy Officer: stefano.lambertucci@estif.org

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