Heating neglected in EU plan to ditch Russian fossil fuels, industry says

(EurActiv, 16 May 2022) The European Commission is due to table plans on Wednesday (18 May) to break free from Russian fossil fuels but, apart from a renewed push for heat pumps, there are major oversights when it comes to decarbonising heating and cooling, according to industry representatives.

The EU executive outlined proposals in March to decrease its consumption of Russian gas by two thirds before the end of the year as part of a broader push to become independent from all Russian fossil fuels “well before 2030”.

The European Commission is now expected to follow up on those plans on Wednesday (18 May) with more detailed proposals to increase Europe’s energy independence.

But representatives from the district heating and geothermal sectors say there needs to be a bigger focus on heating and cooling if Europe wants to successfully break ties with Russia and decarbonise its energy system.

“Boosting renewables and realising the potential for waste heat in heating is absolutely critical,” said Aurélie Beauvais from Euroheat and Power, a trade association representing the district heating sector. “Heating and cooling, whether it’s in buildings or industry, is half of the energy consumption in Europe today and 70% of that is generated from fossil fuels,” she told EURACTIV.

While Beauvais welcomed the focus on heat pumps in the Commission’s March plan, she said much more is needed to promote sustainable heating and cooling.

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EurActiv, 16 May 2022: Heating neglected in EU plan to ditch Russian fossil fuels, industry says