EU Energy Strategy

EHI position and engagement

The European heating industry is recognised as the sector with the biggest energy-saving potential in Europe. The industry acknowledges its key role in achieving the ambitious EU goals and brings its active contribution to energy efficiency, sustainability, competitiveness and security of supply. Below are the key ingredients for a successful and future-oriented climate and energy policy.

Continuity of the 3 pillar approach: reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, increase in renewable energy AND energy efficiency

  • Continuity reinforces the credibility of the current 2020 goals and ensures that the existing policies behind are implemented with a view to the future.
  • Equal footing: Energy efficiency must become a binding target  today, long before 2030.
  • Targets can deliver the best results only if they mutually reinforce each other.
  • Medium and long term investment security is essential for further growth and job creation in Europe.

Focus on stimulating building renovation and replacement of old heating appliances with state of the art technologies

  • Significantly increasing the rate of renovating Europe’s aging building stock is key to meeting all targets.
  • The heating sector has an important role to play in this modernisation process: it can contribute to the largest portion of carbon savings by 2030 in retrofitting existing buildings and replacing old equipment.
  • Building renovation is the most cost-efficient way forward.
  • A technology neutral approach is vital: only the combination of all available solutions can ensure real progress.

No energy transition without heating

  • Heating and cooling represent over 45% of the final energy consumption in the EU yet they remain largely neglected by EU policies.
  • Focus on energy efficient heating will pave the way to decarbonising the European heat demand in a cost-effective way, while reinforcing the predominantly European industry.
  • Available decentralised heating solutions facilitate the deployment of renewable energy sources and  the boost of local economic development.
  • Continuous innovation and competitiveness of the heating industry are dependent on a stable, ambitious and coherent future energy policy.

 

Recent developments

On 22 January 2014 the Commission proposed energy and climate objectives to be met by 2030, in the Communication "A policy framework for climate and energy in the period from 2020 to 2030".

The pillars of the new  proposed EU framework are: a reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 40% below the 1990 level, an EU-wide binding target for renewable energy of at least 27%, renewed ambitions for energy efficiency policies, a new governance system and a set of new indicators to ensure a competitive and secure energy system.

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At European Parliament level, the joint Environment (ENVI) and Energy (ITRE) Committees followed by a plenary adoption of the resolution on 5 February 2014, called for a 40% cut in CO2 emissions, a 30% target for renewable energy and a 40% target for energy efficiency by 2030 (all binding targets).

Framework and evolution

The legal basis for the EU energy policy is defined by art. 194 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union which sets out the objectives of the EU energy policy: (a) to ensure the functioning of the energy market; (b) to ensure security of energy supply in the Union; (c) to promote energy efficiency and energy saving and the development of new and renewable forms of energy; and (d) to promote the interconnection of energy networks.

The European Council adopted in 2007 ambitious energy and climate change objectives for 2020 – to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20%, rising to 30% if the conditions are right, to increase the share of renewable energy to 20% and to make a 20% improvement in energy efficiency.  These targets were incorporated in the Europe 2020 Strategy for Smart, Sustainable and Inclusive Growth.

On 11 November 2010, the European Commission launched its communication on “Energy 2020 – A strategy for competitive, sustainable and secure energy”. The document defines the energy priorities for the next ten years and sets the actions to be taken. Five priorities have been identified:

  1. achieving an energy efficient Europe;
  2. building a pan-European integrated energy market;
  3. empowering consumers and achieving the highest level of safety and security;
  4. extending Europe’s leadership in energy technology and innovation;
  5. strengthening the external dimension of the EU energy market.

Several main aspects are underlined in relation to the energy efficiency priority:

  • Energy efficiency is recognised as the most cost effective way to reduce emissions, improve energy security and competitiveness, make energy consumption more affordable for consumers as well as creating employment
  • Two priority sectors identified for special attention: existing building stock and transport
  • Action to accelerate energy-efficient renovation by investment incentives, innovative financial instruments, EU financial programmes
  • Action to widen ecodesign requirements for energy and resource-intensive products complemented by system level requirements where relevant – more extensive energy labelling should be introduced to ensure more comprehensive comparison between products
  • Action to maximise the potential of the National Energy Efficiency Action Plans – benchmarking on energy efficiency and monitoring progress (annual review mechanism)

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First EU Energy Summit took place on 4 February 2011, aiming to signal that energy issues remained a top EU priority. The Council’s conclusions contain the following:

  • EU is not on track to meet its 20% energy efficiency goal, and further measures would be announced in the forthcoming Action Plan;
  • From 2012, all member states should apply efficiency standards when purchasing goods for public buildings and services (public procurement)
  • A review of  the implementation of the EU energy efficiency target will be done by 2013
  • Upgrading Europe's energy grid infrastructure should be a priority (no EU member state should remain isolated from the European grid after 2015)
  • Member states underline need for national support schemes such as feed-in tariffs for renewable energy and will promote investment in renewables and "safe and sustainable low-carbon technologies"

Furthermore, in March 2011, the European Commission launced the Energy Efficiency Plan 2011 (see details in 'Energy Efficiency' chapter) together with "A Roadmap for moving to a competitive low carbon economy in 2050". The roadmap refers to the following main points:

  • EU domestic emissions reductions scenarios: 25% in 2020; 40% in 2030; 60% in 2040 and 80% or more in 2050
  • Electricity to play a central role in the low carbon economy – prospect of partially replacing fossil fuels in transport and heating
  • Solutions proposed for the building stock: shifting energy consumption towards low carbon electricity (including heat pumps and storage heaters) and renewable energy (solar heating, biogas, biomass), also through district heating – these would help protect consumers against raising fossil fuels prices and bringing significant health benefits

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On 15 December 2011 the European Commission launched the communication “Energy Roadmap 2050” which identifies a series of options to ensure a pathway towards decarbonisation. 
Energy efficiency remains the best option to ensure decarbonisation, in particular in new and existing building.

  • The share of renewables in the energy mix will continue to grow, including in the heating and cooling sectors which is expected to experience a shift in energy consumption towards low carbon and locally produced energy sources (including heat pumps and storage heaters) and renewable energy (e.g. solar heating, geothermal, biogas, biomass). 
  • Gas will play a crucial role in the transition to a low-carbon economy, in particular in the power and heating sector.
  • Rethinking energy market to ensure flexibility in the electricity market, integration and access to the market as well as incentives and investments

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In 2012 the EU adopted the Communication “Making the internal energy market work”, which identifies a number of issues to be tackled and propose an action plan to complete the internal energy market by 2014.

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On 27 March 2013, the European Commission adopted a Green Paper on "A 2030 framework for climate and energy policies". This document launched a public consultation lasting until 2 July, allowing Member States, other EU institutions and stakeholders to express their views. Those views fed into the Commission's preparations for more concrete proposals for the 2030 framework, tabled in early 2014.

In this context, on 27 June 2013, the Heat Coalition (the informal platform of 11 organisations with a stake in the heating and cooling sector at EU level, of which EHI is a member) published its common statement calling for the 2030 framework for climate and energy policy to adequately address the crucial role of Heating and Cooling.