On 19th November, the European Heat Pump Association (EHPA) together with the Finnish Presidency of the Council of the European Union, and the European Commission organized a solution-oriented workshop on sector coupling and the National Energy and Climate Plans (NECPs).
The event gathered representatives from EU countries and non-EU countries, EU officials and a variety of stakeholders who worked on a joint “Solutions Starter Map”. The document aims at providing a concrete input for European and national policymakers involved in the drafting and assessment of the NECPs and beyond.
The EU adopted an ambitious legislative framework for 2030 (including targets for greenhouse gas emissions reduction, renewable energy and energy efficiency). In accordance with the EU Governance Regulation, all Member States prepared draft integrated NECPs and will submit their final plans by the end of 2019.
In order to support this planning process, the workshop focused on how to unlock the potential of sector coupling to deliver on the NECPs. The event named "The EU sector coupling: Who asks for the road never gets lost - From the Nordics to the EU – showing the path towards the 2030 targets" gathered representatives from EU countries and non-EU countries, EU officials and a variety of stakeholders to work on a joint “Solutions Starter Map” on sector coupling and NECPs.
The aim for this collaborative document is to provide a set of key solutions for the implementation of successful sector-coupling initiatives at EU, national, regional and local level. The “Solutions Starter Map” also aims at providing a concrete input for European and national policymakers involved in the drafting and assessment of the NECPs and beyond.
This innovative drafting exercise outlined the importance of cross-sectoral solutions which would aim at deploying sector integration from different perspectives and in different fields.
The deployment of sector coupling technologies and appropriate infrastructure should be fostered in order to unlock the potential of sector integration. Market mechanisms and financial measures may trigger the needed investments and consumers’ behaviour to speed up the technological and storage development, while also incentivising the shift to sector coupling technologies and services. In this context, supporting digitalisation of the energy system and the deployment of smart appliances may contribute to unlocking the potential of sector integration, increasing the flexibility of energy grids and enable the energy transition. Besides, a comprehensive and detailed infrastructure planning may severely contribute to the technological deployment and the further development of storage solution, which are needed to unlock the potential of sector coupling in order to deliver on the NECPs.
The energy transition and decarbonisation of the European economy should be complemented by a “social transition”. In fact, it should be considered to address energy poverty and social acceptance, while also seizing the opportunity to reap the economic and social benefits of job creation next to the positive climate change mitigation effects.
Such an action could be supported by the establishment of a coherent cooperation between public authorities (local, regional, national and EU levels) and the development of inclusive procedures in order to democratise the NEPCs drafting and implementation process. Indeed, participants outlined the importance of involving both private and public stakeholders, as well as citizens and businesse, in the pathways towards the decarbonisation of the European economy.
Beyond the NECPs, it was also outlined that the EU may want to consider new policy measures, guidelines on concerted action to facilitate ‘sector coupling’ at various level across the EU.
Lastly, it was suggested for the EU to explore the possibility of creating a Climate Union, which would go beyond the scope of the Energy Union and would set climate change objectives as an overarching target for the European Union (hence reaching beyond the energy sector).
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