The European Fee goals to scale up renewables in heating and cooling as a solution to section out Russian fuel, though trade sources say there’s nonetheless a lot to do to make sure a stage enjoying discipline with dominant fossil-fuel heating applied sciences.
In its €300 billion ‘RePowerEU’ plan to wean itself off Russian fuel, the European Fee seeks to encourage the deployment of renewable energies in heating and cooling, with plans to speed up the deployment of large-scale warmth pumps, geothermal and photo voltaic thermal vitality.
The transfer is a part of a wider EU push to extend the share of renewable vitality, mentioned a senior EU official who spoke on 20 June at a convention organised by Photo voltaic Warmth Europe, an trade affiliation.
Heating has till now been largely uncared for within the EU’s renewable vitality laws. However that is now altering due to the Ukraine battle, which is forcing Europeans to contemplate options to Russian fuel.
In its REPowerEU plan offered on 18 Could, the Fee proposes to extend the EU’s renewable vitality goal to 45% of Europe’s vitality combine by 2030 and to at the least “triple” photo voltaic thermal capability.
“If you wish to meet a better renewable vitality goal, you will have to deploy renewables in heating and cooling. And it’s very, very clear that it is a sector that has not but realised its potential,” mentioned Lukasz Kolinski, head of unit on the Fee’s vitality division.
“That’s why we’re additional strengthening the framework right here,” Kolinski mentioned, including that the renewable heating sector is “in pole place and one of many winners within the present state of affairs.”
Along with the RePowerEU initiative, the EU’s government offered in Could an EU Photo voltaic Rooftop Technique that introduces an obligation for public and industrial buildings to put in photo voltaic panels from 2026 and for residential buildings from 2029.
In flip, the evaluation of the Power Efficiency of Buildings Directive (EPBD) launched in December goals for zero-emission buildings by which renewable energies assist cowl heating and cooling wants. The Fee additionally needs to section out fossil gas boilers by 2029.
Lack of political imaginative and prescient
As heating makes up virtually 40% of the EU’s complete fuel consumption, renewable options have gained appreciable prominence since Russia invaded Ukraine.
“If we examine it to wind energy, or to PV, we’ve the potential of rapidly fixing a big a part of the vitality puzzle,” mentioned Joakim Bystrom, CEO at Absolicon, a photo voltaic heating firm based mostly in Sweden.
Nonetheless, photo voltaic heating trade representatives say that this isn’t sufficient to create a stage enjoying discipline in opposition to fossil fuels like fuel or different options like electrification and hydrogen.
“We very a lot assist the funding that has been made in renewables and in different photo voltaic applied sciences, like photo voltaic PV, and efforts to have a renaissance of the PV trade in Europe,” mentioned Pedro Dias, secretary common at Photo voltaic Warmth Europe, who spoke on the similar convention.
“However we additionally wish to spotlight the truth that we have already got a number one photo voltaic thermal trade in Europe,” he added.
Photo voltaic thermal vitality at present provides round 10 million households throughout Europe. Its complete capability might improve to as a lot as 500 GW by 2035, and a couple of,000 GW by 2050, Photo voltaic Warmth Europe mentioned in a roadmap launched final month.
Nonetheless, photo voltaic and different renewable heating and cooling sources nonetheless lack a stage enjoying discipline with fossil gas boilers which proceed benefitting from public subsidies.
“We have to transfer from an inner marketplace for fuel to an inner marketplace for warmth, in order that we typically give renewable heating the identical precedence as in electrical energy,” mentioned Sanjeev Kumar from the European Geothermal Power Council.
“The shortage of political visibility is without doubt one of the key issues that’s holding again investments in renewable heating and cooling,” he added.
Equally, representatives of the district heating trade really feel that the European Fee has positioned a stronger emphasis in particular person renewable heating techniques relatively than collective options. “We lack the urgency and the cash to put money into these techniques,” mentioned Aurelie Beauvais, managing director of EuroHeat & Energy who spoke on the similar convention.
[Edited by Frédéric Simon]