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In Brussels PGE calls for responsible decarbonisation of district heating


16 Mar 2022



According to PGE, high-efficiency cogeneration should be one of the criteria defining an efficient heating and cooling system also after 2035. PGE is also calling for changes to the definition of an efficient heating and cooling system proposed in July 2021, allowing for full use of high-efficiency cogeneration. Nevertheless, any changes to the EU legislation should be implemented within a reasonable timeframe, taking into account technological possibilities and the specific characteristics of district heating systems in Member States.

District heating is a sector that is to undergo fundamental changes in the light of the 'Fit for 55' package. The Brussels portal Euractiv organised an international debate on the future of district heating in the European Union. The meeting with MEPs, European Commission officials and representatives of science and business was attended by the Vice-President of the Management Board of PGE S.A. for Regulatory Affairs, Wanda Buk.

The discussion focused on key proposals for district heating in the Energy Efficiency Directive recast and the revision of the Directive on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources. Future works on the recast of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive were also discussed. The event gathered more than 200 people.

The Vice-President of the Management Board of PGE S.A. for Regulatory Affairs, Wanda Buk, drew attention to the European Commission's proposals for district heating in the 'Fit for 55' package and emphasised the important role of district heating in Poland. "Although regional, district heating is the only available source of heat for millions of households mostly located in urban areas. Nearly 6 million households in Poland, out of a total of around 14 million, use district heating. Sole PGE provides heat supply to over 2 million households." - stressed Wanda Buk.

Another equally important measure which the European Union is facing will be the decarbonisation of the block’s building stock. This objective is one of the key aspects of establishing the EU's energy and resources independence. According to PGE, district heating and heat from efficient heating and cooling systems should be better recognised in the regulations in terms of primary energy supply to new buildings. "While in the draft proposal for the Energy Efficiency Directive using heat produced in a high-efficiency cogeneration could constitute the basis for meeting the criterion of an efficient heating system, the revision of the Buildings Directive through the given criteria would significantly limit the connection of new users to such systems after 2030, blocking the development of efficient district heating." - pointed out Wanda Buk. PGE thus highlighted that certain EC proposals for the revision of the Buildings Directive would block the development of efficient district heating and could significantly limit the connection of new buildings to district heating networks after 2030.

During the discussion, PGE's Vice-President for Regulatory Affairs also commented upon the current situation regarding supplies of gaseous fuels from Russia, where the fact that Poland is far ahead of Western Europe in the diversification of gas supplies was underlined. To decarbonise district heating, it is also necessary to look for new heat generation technologies, such as power-to-heat. Last year in Gdańsk, PGE launched its first facility consisting i.a. two electrode boilers with a capacity of 35 MWt each. With the increasing share of green electricity, it will be possible in future to power such plants with completely zero-carbon energy. Yet, for this to happen it is important that the revised Renewables Directive takes into account the specificities of renewable-power-to-heat solutions and allows heat generated this way to be recognised as heat from renewable sources and counted towards renewable heat targets.