News & Views on the EU | Digital Advocacy Strategy

renewable heat

Leaked: draft EU #EnergyUnion Communication on Heating & Cooling

On Tuesday 16 February (rescheduled; was Wednesday 10 February) the European Commission will present the so-called Energy Union ‘Winter Package’. The package will consist of five elements:

A draft of the Strategy for Heating & Cooling was leaked to me today (21 January 2016).

The draft has 12 pages (including cover page). Its structure:

  1. Introduction (p 2)
  2. Vision and goals (p 2)
  3. Challenges (p 2)
    1. Barriers to energy renovation of buildings
    2. Financing
    3. Heating and cooling equipment
    4. Industry
    5. Waste heat and cold
  4. Synergies in the energy system (p 7)
    1. District heating and cooling
    2. Cogeneration of heat and power (CHP)
    3. Smart buildings
  5. Tools and solutions (p 9)
    1. Buildings
    2. Renewable-based heating and cooling
    3. Smart systems
    4. Innovation
    5. Financing
  6. Conclusions (p 12) [sic: the document re-numbers this as 5]


Why heating and cooling is so hugely important: ‘Heating and cooling consume half of the EU’s energy – and much of it is wasted. Developing a strategy to make heating and cooling more efficient and sustainable is one of the priority actions of the Energy Union – to reduce energy imports and dependency, cut costs for households and businesses, and deliver the EU’s greenhouse gas emission reduction goal and meet its commitment under the climate agreement reached at COP21 in Paris.’ (p 2) To note: heating & cooling is expected to remain the EU’s biggest energy sector.


Some first impressions and remarks:

  1. Good to finally have heating and cooling on the EU’s political agenda! This is an extremely important and constructive political signal. The absence of strategic thinking about heating and cooling within the broader energy transition has badly compromised the credibility of EU climate and energy policies in the past. This is a clear sign that the EU Commission intends to correct this problem.
  2. But: the draft does not mention the ‘energy efficiency first’ principle of the EU Energy Union.
  3. The draft does a better job of defining the problem than the solution.
  4. The proposed tools and solutions are a bit “fluffly”.
  5. Integration of heating and cooling sector into national energy and climate plans as part of the Energy Union governance.’  (p 9) This is great and very important but we will need to get more specific at a certain point. Plans that do not include explicit description of how the heating and cooling sector will be decarbonised would be ridiculous and should be considered simply unacceptable.
  6. ‘Under the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED), Member States have already developed National Energy Efficiency Action Plans setting out actions to reduce demand for heating and cooling; building renovation strategies which structure the approach for investment…’ (p 9) However, analysis shows that renovation strategies are generally poor quality.
  7. ‘Extend the work of the BUILD UP skills campaign to improve training for building professionals, in particular through a new module for energy experts and architects.’ (p 11) Good, but installations and on-site executions (and design) of buildings are often of a poor quality and we need to level up skills and competences.
  8. Heating and cooling is finally stepping out of the shadows and getting where it belongs, that is: at the centre of the EU’s climate and energy policy. The challenge now is to start to apply these principles in practice. The first test will be the forthcoming work on the next versions of the EED, EPBD and RES Directives.

Looking forward to read the next, improved draft! Meanwhile here is some good background reading and inspiration for a more ambitious Heating & Cooling Strategy: the Heat Roadmap Europe 2050.

* Many thanks for input: EuroHeat & Power, BPIE.


You can find the draft document here. If this blog is the first place you saw it, then please use its original source when sharing it, that is: please share this blog, not just the Google doc. Many thanks!

climateconsumerscoolingenergyenvironmentEU Energy Unionheatingrenewables

@StollmeyerEU • 21st January 2016

Previous Post

Next Post