Providing 20% of the EU heat demand with district heating by 2030 would save 24 billion cubic meters of gas, representing 32% of Europe’s Russian gas imports in 2022. Decisive EU action is needed to leverage this potential.
The Ukrainian crisis was the wake-up call we needed to finally grasp the urgency of reducing Europe’s dependence on fossil fuels, and address the decarbonisation of our heating and cooling sector. Space heating & cooling and hot water supply in buildings represent about 31% of the EU’s primary energy consumption with over 75% coming from fossil fuels. Despite a successful reduction of the EU domestic gas demand in 2022, the heating and cooling sector remains structurally dependent on natural gas. To achieve the EU’s climate targets and regain energy independence, decisive action to deploy clean heating and cooling solutions is needed.
A ground breaking study from Aalborg university, “Heat matters: the missing link with REPowerEU”, singles out district heating and cooling as one of Europe’s most efficient measure to reduce fossil fuels import in Europe, over the next decade. According to the study’s results, expanding district heating and cooling to cover 20% of the EU heat demand by 2030 (compared to 13% today) would save 24 billion cubic meters of gas demand, corresponding to 32% of Europe’s Russian gas imports in 2022!