Heat pumps: a largely overlooked potential

In early October 2010, ENDS Europe issued a special report on the National Renewable Energy Action Plans. Renewable Energy Europe outlines goals and measures to boost renewable energy use. The following National Renewable Energy Action Plans are analyzed: Austria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, UK. Non- submitted plans from Poland and Slovakia are also scrutinized. This report includes data from Bulgaria, Cyprus and Luxembourg, while Belgium, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia and Romania are not included. All information is updated to 21 September 2010.

Unfortunately, the heating sector, which uses approx. 40% of Europe's energy, does not receive a similar focus in the current versions of the Renewable energy action plans. In particular, the potential of heat pumps is still largely overlooked. This is also reflected in a recent EREC press release that comes to the conclusion that “the EU Member States collectively forecast to exceed the binding 20% RES target." 

However, "only" little more than one fifth of the heating consumption is expected to come from RES in 2020. Renewable heating and cooling should reach 22.2% in 2020, with biomass representing 17.2%, heat pumps from aerothermal and hydrothermal energy 1.6%, solar thermal energy 1.2% and geothermal energy 1.3%. This does not match the full potential of heat pump technology!

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EREC's press release of 5 Jan. 2011