REPowerEU and the EU Heat Pump Action Plan

REPowerEU and the EU Heat Pump Action Plan

Thomas Novak, on the right, and Kadri Simson

Today, Europe has more than  20 million heat pumps installed.  

The REPowerEU targets require the amount of newly plugged-in heat pumps to double every four years. EHPA estimates that this would lead to 60 million more heat pumps installed by 2030, compared to the 17 million units installed when REPowerEU was published in 2021.

To help reach the target, the European Commission is working on a Heat Pump Action Plan.  

To input the plan, EHPA and other 22 organisations worked together to build an ‘accelerator’ document which identifies the barriers and solutions to faster heat pump roll-out. The EU Heat Pump Accelerator was handed over to EU Energy Commissioner Simson in June 2023.

However, in December 2023, the European Commission announced that the publication of the EU Heat Pump Action Plan, initially planned in early 2024, would be postponed until after the EU elections in June 2024.  

Twenty organisations, including industry associations, NGOs, consumer groups, think tanks and 60+ CEOs joined EHPA’s call for the swift publication of the EU Heat Pump Action Plan without further delay.

In May 2024, 15 Member States issued a joint non-paper asking for the plan’s release.

In REPowerEU, the European Commission also refers to measures like ramping up equipment production for heat pumps, facilitating the sector’s access to finance and focusing on education and training in a range of skills from plumbing to architecture and engineering.

The Commission intends to change other rules that will help the targets be reached, like tougher energy efficiency requirements on buildings. These should see an end to ‘stand-alone’ fossil fuel boilers and products by 2029.  

*The graph is an extrapolation of heat pump sales data from EHPA statistics in combination with the European Commission’s communication on REPowerEU. It is based on information known in March 2022.

EHPA highlights five crucial areas that need to be addressed:  

1) Creating trust in long-term ambition for heat pumps – clearly spelling out at EU and national government level that they are a key technology for a climate-neutral Europe 

2) Making clean heating the financially most attractive choice – governments should stop subsidising fossil fuel boilers and help everyone have access to a heat pump 

3) Ensuring policy helps and does not hinder the market – EU laws should not disrupt a growing technology but instead push it forward through greater climate and energy ambition  

4) Boosting skills for the energy transition – training programmes should be put in place so there are enough workers for every part of the heat pump process, from manufacturing to installation 

5) Supporting R&D – to allow the sector to ensure a cost-efficient and effective solution for every type of building, climate, industry and need

These five areas form the basis for EHPA’s key EU policy priorities for the new European Commission and Parliament, which will be in office from 2024 to 2029.

Read EHPA’s Manifesto in full here or download the infographic!

*The initial focus of the EU Commission was on water-based (‘hydronic’) heat pumps and sees a total of 10 million additional units being necessary by 2026. The original REPowerEU communication set the 2030 target at 30 million units.

As this will have positive effects also on heat pumps that heat air systems rather than water, we estimate that the predicted values for the EU market will double.

This comes to an additional 20 million heat pumps by 2026 and 60 million by 2030, building on a the stock at the time, in 2021, of about 17 million units.

Relevant files

CEOs letter to EU Commission to publish Heat Pump Action Plan today
Organisations’ letter to EU Commission to publish Heat Pump Action Plan without delay
EU Heat Pump Accelerator
EHPA’s Position on the EU Heat Pump Action Plan
Ongoing investments in the heat pump value chain
Heat Pumps in REPowerEU
EU Heat pump industry ready for 50+ million heat pumps by 2030
REPowerEU – immediate measures to move the European heating sector closer to decarbonisation