EU heat and power bodies respond to fresh urgency for energy-efficient cities

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Europe’s combined heat and power industry trade bodies have been responding to EU Climate Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete’s comments this week in relation to the significance of low carbon technologies for the bloc’s cities.

Canete, speaking at the plenary session of the Committee of the Regions in Brussels, told representatives of Europe’s cities and regions to focus their climate change efforts on energy efficiency and especially the renovation of buildings.
Calling on local leaders to put energy efficiency first in their policies, he said 75 per cent of homes in the EU were inefficient, and smart renovation could cut up to 40 per cent of the bloc’s energy consumption.

“Cities are at the heart of the fight against climate change,” he said, “it’s where most of us live and where most of our energy is consumed.”

COGEN Europe Managing Director Fiona Riddoch told COSPP online that policymakers drawing up the EU’s first ever Heating and Cooling Strategy should lead with energy efficiency, consider a system approach and tackle challenges where the best solutions may be very local in nature.

“This points to success in linking with cities and regions. Using networks like the Covenant of Mayors and regional platforms as partners in moving ideas and actions forward should be part of the Strategy from the outset. The local nature of heat demand and the richness of local supply call for a system-wide rather than a siloed heat-only approach.”
Fiona Riddoch of Cogen Europe
“In Europe's future energy system, networks fed from sustainable sources must combine with modern energy-efficient technologies deployed at local level in order to successfully deliver the objectives of the EU Energy Union,” she added.

A report in Euractiv midweek quoted research from Ecofys which predicts that renovating the European Union’s building stock for energy efficiency will save €80- €153 billion of investment costs into the bloc’s power system by 2050.

The climate consultancy’s research found that electricity demand and peak loads could be slashed by nearly 57 GW, the same as the total electricity production capacity of the Netherlands and Austria. In order to meet its carbon targets, the EU is expected to move towards the electrification of heating, and away from fossil fuels. Doing so will enable clean renewables to heat homes through heat pumps, which turn electricity into heat.

In June Jonathan Graham, Head of Policy at the UK's Association for Decentralised Energy (ADE) told COGEN Europe’s website, "Local energy generation, whether from manufacturing sites, hospitals or commercial buildings, offers an opportunity for local businesses and governments to play a part in delivering the heat strategy's ambitions while delivering higher efficiency savings than if we take a heat-based approach in isolation."

Meanwhile Paul Voss, Managing Director of Euroheat & Power told COSPP on Friday, “Today’s ceremony offered further proof that cities and sustainable heat for cities have become major topics in the EU policy debate. In this context, we believe that district energy will become more and more important and valuable than ever”.

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