In the NREAPs from the Member States heat pumps are ought to contribute about 12 Mtoe to the EU RES target by 2020. According to DG Energy’s policy officer, Øyvind Vessia – who acted as a keynote speaker at the conference, - that is quite a large contribution and countries are on track to meet that target. However he argues that these targets were very modest: “if you look how they will be met without special dedication to the technology and very moderate calculating methods, then one can argue that there is still lots of potential for heat pumps”. He gave the advice to the heat pump industry to talk to the governments to show the many benefits so that they will consider the technology in their upcoming national plans in the framework of the 2030 climate and energy package.
During the 7th edition of the EHPA heat pump forum, bringing again together the large majority of the European heat pump industry, representatives of different Member States had the opportunity to give an insight on how they deal with energy policy, and heat pumps in particular. It is clear that there is quite a variety in their approach. Whereas Germany sticks to rather broad renovation targets for the future, the UK is having an ambitious incentive scheme that targets users of renewable heating systems. Italy on the other hand will introduce a reduced electricity tariff for heat pump users as from the 1st of July 2014. It is clear that these can all trigger a heat pump market uptake.
Kai Schiefelbein, CEO of heat pump manufacturer Stiebel Eltron, argued for such specific policy measures so that heat pumps can grow up in “a perfect climate”. He referred to the rising electricity prices, which make it difficult to compete with fossil fuel technologies, which already have a lower investment cost. “The primary energy factor of electricity will drop considerably in the future due to more integration of renewables. As such running costs of heat pumps will get lower anyhow, as long as policy makers stop the continuous rise of electricity prices.”
Looking at the first preliminary EU market data for 2013, presented by the Secretary General of EHPA, Thomas Nowak, it is clear that, with about 770.000 units sold, heat pumps aren’t a complete niche market any longer. “Despite a constant sales number and even a small increase last year, the potential of the market is huge. We therefore encourage both the Commission and Member States to promote and implement the policy tools that foster the use of best-in-class technologies, such as the energy label.”
During the last two sessions namely “Achieving the energy transition with heat pumps” and “Industrial heat pump applications”, hot topics such as the consumer’s purchasing behaviour towards energy efficient products, the thermal storage potential of heat pumps and large heat pump examples were discussed. The speakers addressed a number of technological developments that can bring heat pump technology forward not only in home systems but also in large applications. Nevertheless, even though heat pump technology is the solution to RES targets, Energy Efficiency targets and thermal storage, ambitious targets and policies are not yet in place.
The 7th EHPA European Heat Pump Forum hosted 120 participants who represented industry, Universities and laboratories as well as governments.
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