Renewable energy gap in heating ‘unacceptable’, EU says

By District Energy posted 06-28-2017 19:08


Frédéric Simon, Euractive
June 26, 2017


While renewable energies gradually assert their dominance in power generation, the heating and cooling sector remains far behind, with fossil fuels – heating oil, gas or even coal – still making up 84% of Europe’s heating consumption.

Paula Abreu Marques, head of unit at the European Commission in charge of renewable energy, has called for more efforts to raise the share of renewables in heating and cooling.

Renewables – such as biomass, solar or geothermal – currently represent only 18.6% of the total heating market. And the slow progress seen at national levels to increase this share is “unacceptable”, given the sector’s major contribution to energy consumption and global warming, she said.

Heating and cooling is responsible for 51% of final energy use in Europe and represents about 27% of CO2 emissions, according to the Commission.

“We need to achieve at least a 27% renewable share in heating and cooling” in order to reach the EU’s minimum target of 27% renewables in total energy consumption by 2030, Marques told a EURACTIV event on 30 May.

“This is essential if we want to achieve the target in a cost-effective way,” Marques emphasised. “If not, it means most of the burden will fall on the electricity sector. And that will make the target much more expensive to achieve,” she warned.

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