EU official: ‘Renewables could supply almost 80% of heating and cooling by 2050’

(EurActiv, 23 Apr 2019) Reaching the EU’s target of increasing renewable heating and cooling by 1.3% each year will require a diverse array of solutions, says the European Commission’s Hans van Steen.

This article is part of our special report Decarbonising heat.

Reaching the EU’s target of increasing renewable heating and cooling by 1.3% each year will require a diverse array of solutions, says the European Commission’s Hans van Steen.

Hans van Steen is acting director for renewables, research and innovation, and energy efficiency in the European Commission’s directorate for energy. He responded in writing to questions by Dave Keating, EURACTIV’s environment correspondent.

The EU has adopted an indicative target in the revised Renewable Energy Directive of a 1.3% increase in renewables in heat starting in 2021. How difficult will it be to reach this target, and what happens if it isn’t met?

Heating and cooling consumes around half of the EU’s energy. Without tackling this sector the EU’s decarbonisation goals cannot be realised. That is why it is a significant political achievement that the European Parliament and the Council accepted the Commission’s proposal to include a dedicated target for this sector in the revised Renewable Energy Directive. The indicative 1.3% average annual increase will spur targeted efforts to address this sector.

The Commission is currently assessing the draft Integrated National Energy and Climate Plans (NECPs) that member states have prepared under the new Energy Union Governance framework. The Commission may issue recommendations to countries by 30 June 2019 to amend the draft NECP. Member states then have until the end of 2019 to submit their final NECP.

Given the novelty of the EU policy on heating and cooling, and because this is the first time that a dedicated EU legal framework was put in place, the structured dialogue between the Commission and member states set up under the governance framework will provide the instruments to help member states deliver the 1.3% annual increase between 2021 and 2030. The Commission will closely follow the integrated NECPs and their implementation, including in various regional energy cooperation fora.

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EurActiv, 23 Apr 2019: EU official: ‘Renewables could supply almost 80% of heating and cooling by 2050’