Beyond policy: turning national climate plans into local heating solutions 

27 Jun 2024

TIme is running out for governments to submit their latest national energy and climate plans (NECPs) to the European Commission, with a deadline of 30 June. 

Why do these matter? They set out how countries intend to meet their climate targets, which should include decarbonising heating and cooling with heat pumps

While those plans are developed at national level, it is often regions and cities which drive forward progress on the ground. 

Speakers at a recent webinar organised by EHPA gave examples of how this can be done. 

Entitled “Boost Renewables, Slash Emissions: Initiatives and Tools for Heating & Cooling“, the 20 June event brought together experts to discuss policy and financing tools designed to enhance the uptake of renewable energy solutions. 

The speakers also presented the three EU-funded projects behind the webinar: IN-PLAN, ConnectHeat and REDI4Heat. 

Overall, it was working together which emerged as a key factor for success, both in terms of governments and citizens but also collaboration between private and public partners

The first speaker was Tomislav Novosel, from the North-West Croatia Regional Energy and Climate Agency (REGEA), who gave an overview of the IN-PLAN project and demo sites in the country. 

Funded under the EU’s LIFE Programme, IN-PLAN helps local and regional authorities implement sustainable energy, climate, and spatial plans by integrating planning tools, securing political commitment, and aligning budgets. The project features a two-step capacity-building programme. Phase one aims to educate trainers by empowering energy, climate and or development agencies from across Europe to become IN-PLAN’s multipliers. Phase two aims at passing on the knowledge to local and regional governments, or ‘replicators’. 

Novosel also presented successful case studies within the project, showing the integration of clean heating and cooling systems with district energy in the Croatian cities of Karlovac, Krizevci and Zagreb.  

Similarly, the ConnectHeat project aims to create groups of people interested in helping shoift to cleaner energy at the local level.  

The overview was delivered this time by Martin Stroleny, project coordinator and Innovation Manager Euroheat & Power, the EU’s association for district heating and cooling. The most successful energy communities currently established in Europe? Breklum in Germany and Thermobello in the Netherlands, where collective heat supply became fully operational in 2004, for 2,300 inhabitants. There are also growing communities in Italy, Austria and Sweden.  
Stroleny was followed by Joan Fernandes, from the Portuguese Energy Agency (ADENE), who introduced the last and final project featured in the discussion: REDI4Heat.  

Standing for ‘RED Implementation for Heating and Cooling’, REDI4HEAT focuses on the local implementation of the Renewable Energy Directive, also known as RED. It has a consortium of ten local and European organisations, with demo sites across Greece, Portugal, Poland, Croatia and Germany.  

By showcasing successful projects and sharing best practices, the event aimed to inspire stakeholders and equip them with the knowledge needed to enhance the efficiency of heating and cooling systems. This collaborative approach is essential for meeting the EU’s climate goals and transitioning towards net zero.  

Learn more about our EU-funded projects and policy work.  

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