EU heating and cooling strategy expected in January 2016

1 October, Brussels – The EU’s long-awaited strategy for heating and cooling is expected to be published in January 2016, the Commission has announced. The strategy has been heavily lobbied by industry groups, revealing vastly different approaches and opinions.

Different lobby groups have argued for encouraging the replacement of traditional heating systems with renewable energy (particularly biomass), supporting building renovation and insulation efforts, encouraging energy efficiency, and funding nuclear power and unproven carbon capture and storage technologies rather than renewables.

A large part of the strategy will involve measures on the climate impact of buildings, and will likely avoid excessive emphasis on energy performance standards, and will also look to integration of renewables, and how to change user behaviour to improve energy efficiency. The Commission regards measures such as district heating to be a cheaper and easier way of reducing impact than renovating building stock to nearly-zero energy standard.

The emphasis placed by the Commission on district heating was criticised by leading energy companies, who said that the infrastructure costs would lock Europe into a technology path dependence, a claim which was resisted by the district heating lobby, Euroheat&Power, who claimed it to be the most cost effective option.

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