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Resource-efficiency requires a European strategy for heat!


03 Feb 2011


EU Priorities 2020

With just days to the historic energy summit, six Brussels based associations representing energy efficiency have come together to focus attention on the heat sector and unite in their call for strong action on energy efficiency. Sharing the conviction that local energy concepts hold the key towards an accelerated transition to a sustainable energy future, the associations (Euroheat & Power, Cecodhas Housing Europe, CEWEP, COGEN Europe, EFIEES and Energy Cities) produced a joint statement entitled ‘Europe needs a strategy for heat’ They believe that heating and cooling should be viewed as a market in their own right, as doing so provides important possibilities for energy integration and efficiency.

The dinner-debate explored opportunities to unlock energy efficiency potentials by closing what is a real gap in Europe’s energy thinking: the European heat markets.
Opening the debate, MEP Herbet Reul, chair of the parliament’s ITRE committee underlined the importance of energy efficiency as a key element to make Europe’s energy supply not only more sustainable, but also secure and affordable. “Energy policy cannot be reduced to climate policy alone. We need to focus on saving primary energy along the whole chain not only to protect our climate, but also to
reduce our dependence on energy imports”, he said. “Addressing heating and cooling is simply a must in this context”.

Ms Marie Donnelly, Director of Directorate C in DG ENERGY, contributed the Commission’s view.
The dinner debate was also the occasion to launch the joint heat statement calling for a European strategy on heating and cooling. The heat statement is attached. A summary of the issues is provided below:
The associations call for the following guidelines which will realize the potential and support structural
change in the energy markets:

 Respect for the energy hierarchy.
 Recognition of heating and cooling as markets in their own right,
 Redirecting investments into sustainable energy infrastructures – especially locally, and
 Responsibility for citizens at local level.

1. Respecting the energy hierarchy. The EU must be ambitious enough to induce long-term changes. To achieve a “sustainable, low‐energy future” we should not lock ourselves into the current energy supply infrastructures and mindset. Europe can be transformed into a much more efficient, CO2 lean and independent economy, with stabilised prices for consumers by better utilising the potential of cities and industries to exploit available low-carbon resources and synergies between sectors.

To reap the full benefits of more decentralisation based on energy efficiency, the associations believe it is important to strictly align policy actions to an energy hierarchy, which can be defined as the “3 Re’s”:
Reduce energy consumption, recycle energy that otherwise would be lost and replace fossil fuels with renewable energies.

2. Recognition of heating and cooling as markets in their own right. Heat is the major end‐use of energy in the European Union and cooling demand is also set to grow dramatically. Attention to energy efficiency along t he full supply chain is required, as the potential for using surplus heat as a resource is indeed enormous: at current oil prices, the economic value of heat losses in the European energy balance amounts to as much as 480 billion Euro!

Recovering even part of these losses would greatly benefit the Union’s competitiveness. Currently, these markets are addressed on the margins by many different instruments, when in fact they require tailor made policies. Therefore, the associations call for the explicit recognition of heating and cooling as policy
areas and the provision of a 2030 and 2050 vision for these sectors that fully exploits the synergies with other markets.

3. Re‐directing investments into sustainable energy infrastructures – especially locally. At present, heating and cooling are viewed as local neighbourhood responsibilities, compared to electricity which is given European significance. Prioritizing policies to fund energy efficient infrastructures at local levels,
such as district heating and other urban energy infrastructure, will produce long-term benefits for Europe.
A commitment by the EU and national governments to fund decentralized energies would give an impetus to energy efficiency and renewables, while keeping the overall energy expenses for households low.
Hence, the associations request the systematic inclusion of local energy infrastructures in EU financing initiatives (SET‐Plan, smart grids, 8th framework programme, income from auctioning, ERDF etc.)

4. Responsibility for citizens and local authorities. Sustainability calls for citizens’ engagement. We need to deal with the demand side that is more dispersed than the supply side. Today, policies addressing energy efficiency and savings mainly consider citizens as simple “receivers” or ‘’passive consumers” and
often come in the form of obligations perceived as additional burden. However, local authorities are key actors for heat policy, as demonstrated by the Covenant of Mayors involvement in matters of energy efficiency and energy saving. By further empowering citizens and reaffirming the key role at the local level, we will enable informed choices to be made and innovative models to emerge. The associations encourage the EU and Member States to re‐consider cities and citizens and to support them in experimenting with new, voluntary, democratic and integrated ways of organizing energy supply and acceptance‐building and leveraging bottom‐up solutions.

The associations:
Euroheat & Power is the international association representing the district heating and cooling (DHC) sector in Europe and beyond.

Cecodhas Housing Europe is the European Federation of social, cooperative and public housing, a network of national and regional social housing federations

CEWEP represents about 390 Waste-to-Energy Plants across Europe. They thermally treat household and similar waste and transform it into energy (heat and electricity) which is delivered to citizens and industry.

COGEN Europe is the European Association for the Promotion of Cogeneration. Its principal goal is to work

towards the wider use of cogeneration in Europe for a sustainable energy future
EFIEES is the European Federation of Intelligent Energy Efficiency Services, represents private companies

(Energy Efficiency Services Companies, EESCs) providing an overall energy management service to enduser.

Energy Cities is the European Association of local authorities inventing their energy future.
(*according to the Second Strategy Energy Review 2008).

For more information contact Sinead Boyle:


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