REPowerEU: heat pump strategy required to help sector deliver

| The European Commission’s REPowerEU plan, published today, builds on the ambitious heat pump targets it set out in March.

The European Commission’s REPowerEU plan, published on 18 May, builds on the ambitious heat pump targets it set out in March. Those targets require around 20 million heat pumps to be installed in the EU by 2026 and nearly 60 million by 2030*.

Expanding the use of heat pumps is crucial for reducing use of fossil gas in heating and cooling for homes, buildings and industry. In REPowerEU, the European Commission sets a target of doubling the deployment rate, and refers to ramping up equipment production and facilitating access to finance.

In its accompanying ‘EU Save Energy’ Communication the Commission proposes a range of measures to accelerate and incentivise the roll-out of heat pumps, such as tougher energy efficiency requirements on buildings, which should see an end to ‘stand-alone’ fossil fuel boilers by 2029. 

Yet REPowerEU does not set out any kind of overall strategy or propose an EU Heat Pump accelerator to bring these elements together and help the sector deliver on the targets.

Thomas Nowak, secretary-general of the European Heat Pump Association said:

“Today the EU Commission set out many good jigsaw pieces but did not shape a consistent picture on heating and cooling. Europe needs a heat pump strategy and the industry an EU heat pump accelerator to speed up deployment and help Europeans get off fossil gas faster. Since today’s package does not address this need, we invite interested groups to join us in co-creating it, hoping that its core aspects will be taken up in forthcoming policy.”

The Commission also includes many other points in REPowerEU which will help speed up the roll-out of heat pumps. These include:

  • Encouraging Member States to accelerate the deployment and integration of large-scale heat pumps in a cost-effective way, for example by exploiting industrial heat
  • Encouraging Member States to use supporting measures regarding pricing to encourage switching to heat pumps
  • Encourages co-legislators to bring forward the cut-off date for public subsidies for fossil fuel-based boilers in buildings, from 2027 to 2025
  • Creating a new window in the Innovation Fund – which is financed through the EU Emissions Trading System – to support innovative clean tech manufacturing including heat pumps
  • Proposing increasing the binding energy efficiency target to at least 13% by 2030 based on 2020 levels, from the current 9%
  • Proposing increasing the renewable energy target to 45% from the current proposed 40%
  • Setting up a large-scale ‘skills partnership’ which should help train up people to work in the heat pump industry

These are good measures in themselves, but they need to be strengthened and integrated into the mentioned heat pump accelerator or a REHeatEU package as soon as possible.

* The REPowerEU plan proposes a heat pump target a) doubling annual sales, b) adding 10 million hydronic heat pumps in the next five years. The REPowerEU Communication of March 2022 also added the target of c) adding a total of 30 million hydronic heat pumps by 2030. As all heat pump technologies contribute to reducing gas dependency, EHPA calculates that this means around 20 million heat pumps by 2026 and nearly 60 million heat pumps installed in the EU by 2030.

Contact:

Sarah Azau, sarah.azau@ehpa.org, +32 473 573 137