To enable Europe’s clean energy future, we need to buckle up and couple up

(EurActiv, 19 Jun 2019) The theme for this year’s EU Sustainable Energy Week is ’Shaping Europe’s Energy Future’ – that future holds plenty of potential and must rest on further integration across sector and policies to ensure we optimize our energy systems for optimal performance and efficiency, write Jurgen Fischer, President of Danfoss Cooling, and Vesa Laisi, President of Danfoss Drives.

Our energy future must look very different from today, if we want to meet the Paris Agreement, and become climate neutral by 2050. And Europeans do, as witnessed by the ‘Green Wave’ at the Parliamentary elections at the end of May. But climate is not only a key concern for Europe’s citizens. European Union´s leadership on the clean energy transition is also an excellent opportunity for jobs and growth across the continent.

The European Commission’s strategic long-term vision “A Clean Planet for All Europeans” shows how Europe can become climate-neutral EU by 2050, a vision that Danfoss fully supports. Now, it must be backed up by concrete, legislative measures that will result in robust action at Member State level. And central to those will be optimizing heating and cooling, which today account for half of the EU’s final energy consumption in buildings and industry.

Sector coupling is essential for flexibility and resilience

One of the principles that the Commission strategy rests on is investing in realistic, technological solutions. The good news is that the future is now when it comes to technology in heating and cooling: it exists today, and the potential is significant. In cooling alone, IEA estimates the energy saving potential of today’s space cooling at 50%.

The key to maximizing savings is to take a systems approach, to lock in savings and benefit from ‘by-products’.  Heat recovery, i.e. recycling the heat taken out in the cooling process, rather than wasting it, is an excellent example. Take your local supermarket: their refrigeration system generates a lot of excess heat.  With a heat recovery solution, the supermarket can recycle that excess heat and use it to heat up their own store or get hot tap water for free. They can also sell heat to the local heating plant and distribute it through district energy systems. Such a smart, decentral system increases the efficiency of cooling and decarbonizes heating at the same time while lowering energy costs – a win-win-win.

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EurActiv, 19 Jun 2019: To enable Europe’s clean energy future, we need to buckle up and couple up