Today for the third time the European Parliament recognised the importance of heating and cooling in its report on a 2030 climate and energy policy framework. In the past, the Parliament has twice called on the Commission to avoid maintaining a narrow focus on electricity, and to fully integrate the heating and cooling sector into the pathways towards a sustainable energy model. Nevertheless, heating and cooling remains largely neglected by EU policies despite representing over 45% of the final energy consumption in the European Union compared to 20% for electricity (IEA, 2011).
In its report on a 2030 climate and energy policy framework, the Parliament calls on:
· “the EU to consider the full integration of the heating and cooling sector in the pathways towards a sustainable energy system”;
· “the Commission to gather the required data reflecting the sources and the uses of heating and cooling, as well as the distribution of heat to the different groups of final consumers (e.g. residential, industry, tertiary)”;
· “the Member States and the Commission to support readily available efficient heating and cooling solutions”.
The Heat Coalition welcomes the outcome of today’s vote which marks an important step towards an emergence of the European policy on heat. If the European Union is serious about meeting its climate and energy goals, the EU institutions now need to focus on developing legislation which would support and facilitate the development of efficient heating and cooling technologies.
If addressed properly, heating and cooling will significantly contribute to the achievement of the EU’s stated objectives of (a) increasing the uptake of renewables, (b) improving energy efficiency and (c) reducing CO2emissions. Putting heating and cooling at the centre of the 2030 agenda will in fact make all three targets more achievable and, more generally, facilitate the transition to a more sustainable, secure and competitive energy model.
Just as a policy framework designed exclusively around a single target for CO2 would inevitably lead to mistakes and missed opportunities, so would an approach in which heating and cooling remain marginalised. If the EU is to get the sustainable, secure and competitive energy model it requires, a holistic vision – based on 3 separate targets and consistent with the integrated nature of our energy system – is the only way forward. The Heat Coalition calls on the Commission and Member States to take Parliament’s voice into account and to proceed accordingly as we move towards the establishment of a new climate and energy policy framework for Europe.
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