The creation of a resilient Energy Union with a forward-looking climate change policy is one of the five priorities of the Junker EC Presidency. The goal of the Energy Union is to ensure that Europe has secure, sustainable, competitive and affordable energy and it acts upon five dimensions: supply security, internal energy market, energy savings, emissions reductions and research & innovation. The heat-pump industry can play a significant role and contribute to all the dimensions of the Energy Union. The deployment of heat pumps reduces the exposure of the EU energy supply to external shocks, eliminating the need for fossil fuel imports from politically unstable regions, and boosts the decarbonisation of our economy by providing heating and cooling using sustainable energy from air, water and ground. Heat pumps are also among the most efficient devices for heating, cooling and hot water use and increase energy efficiency in the residential, commercial and industrial sector. Heat pumps contribute to a well-functioning internal market by bridging electric grids and thermal networks; in future smart cities/regions they will be at the heart of the energy-optimised buildings and infrastructure, integrating different energy technologies. Finally, the heat-pump industry is at the forefront of research & innovation and offers a variety of solutions to keep Europe competitive on the global stage.
As part of the Clean Energy Package, the European Commission proposed the adoption of a Regulation on the Governance of the Energy Union which will require Member States to develop Integrated National Energy and Climate Plans and report on the progress in their implementation. EHPA believes that reporting and planning should aim at 100% decarbonisation, especially in the heating and cooling sector.
Heating and cooling in our buildings and industry accounts for around 45% of final energy consumption in the EU. In EU households, heating and hot water account for 79% of total energy use. Although cooling is still a fairly small share of total final energy use, demand significantly rises during the summer months and this trend will continue to grow due to climate change and temperature increase.
However, 84% of heating and cooling is still generated from fossil fuels, while only 16% originates from renewable energy. Therefore, the heating and cooling sector can largely contribute to reaching the EU energy efficiency, renewable energy and emission reduction targets. Heat pumps are amongst the most efficient devices for heating, cooling and hot water use; they increase the energy efficiency in the residential, commercial and industrial sector and are enablers of a higher share of renewable energy sources in energy systems.
In February 2016, the European Commission released the first EU Heating and Cooling Strategy, which was later endorsed by the Council and backed by the Parliament, which voted an own-initiative resolution on ‘An EU strategy on heating and cooling’. The adoption of an EU strategy specifically dedicated to heating and cooling shows the growing importance of the sector for European policy-makers and its relevance in the transition to a cleaner economy. EHPA is currently advocating for a review of this Strategy in view of the 100% decarbonisation goal of the heating and cooling sector by 2050.
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