The European Commission has postponed its Heat Pump Action Plan until after the EU elections. The decision comes despite the Commission’s repeated assurances that the Action Plan would be out early in 2024, as soon as the revised Energy Performance of Buildings (EPBD) law was finalised. That finalisation is a step closer today, with the Council’s adoption of the directive.
Despite saying that it wanted to accelerate the rollout of heat pumps and despite reminding the Member States about the importance of higher ambition, the European Commission has slammed on the brakes.
After the elections, a new Commission will be in place. Even if it does decide to take up the Action Plan, the delay will be considerable.
This surprise decision comes in the last working days of a year in which heat pump sales are down and the sector is calling for strong policy support in the form of ambitious targets and a comprehensive action plan. Manufacturers have invested over €7 billion in production capacity and training of installers, building on the key role given to heat pumps in the Green Deal, Fit for 55°C package, and in REPowerEU.
Thomas Nowak, secretary general of the European Heat Pump Association said:
“Europe is falling behind on the decarbonisation of heat. Yet, rather than tackle the issue by developing and publishing the promised Heat Pump Action Plan, the Commission has kicked it into the long grass.
This will not only impact the sector and its €7 billion of European investments, it will impact Europe’s path to net zero and all the consumers who want nothing more than to be able to choose affordable and sustainable clean heating
Postponing the finalisation of this plan after the election can only be called a mistake. We urge President von der Leyen, Commissioner for Energy Simson and all the Commissioners to review and revert it urgently.”
Along with 23 other organisations, EHPA developed a ‘heat pump accelerator’ which details the barriers and solutions to increase heat pump roll-out and can be applied both at EU and national level. This was handed to EU Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson in June as input to the heat pump action plan. In EHPA’s view the plan should be complemented by national action strategies that address the often huge difference between gas and electricity prices, in order to trigger demand for heat pumps.
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