Low-Carbon Heating And Cooling: Time For An Electric Revolution

News Article

Decarbonising heating and cooling is key to achieving the European climate goals and decarbonising our society as a whole. Speaking at the European Commission’s conference ‘Heating and Cooling in the European Energy Transition’ this week, EURELECTRIC representatives will use the opportunity to call for an ‘electric revolution’ in this area. In particular, they will highlight how electricity can contribute to lowering carbon emissions from heating and cooling.

Electricity today is increasingly generated from renewable sources. As a result, the carbon intensity of electricity as an energy carrier is falling – and it will decrease even further as the electricity sector steps up its use of low-carbon sources. EURELECTRIC members have committed to achieving carbon neutral electricity supply by 2050.[1] Calculations by both the Commission (see Energy Roadmap 2050) and by EURELECTRIC (see Power Choices Reloaded) show that electrification of heating and transport is essential if the EU is to meet its longer-term climate goals.

EURELECTRIC therefore calls on the Commission to acknowledge the central role of carbon-neutral electricity in the transition of the heating and cooling sector. A variety of clean and energy-efficient electro-technologies, including for instance heat pumps, can play a part in the process. The time to start this transition is now.

Electrification also brings efficiency benefits. New technologies such as smart heat storage systems enable electric heating/cooling to act as decentralised storage, opening up more options in making our energy systems cleaner, more efficient, and more flexible.

In parallel to electrification, combined heat and power (CHP) will play a key role in the successful transition of the heating sector. A mature technology with very high efficiency levels, CHP can save primary energy and help to reduce CO2 emissions. However, conflicting policies and the economic downturn are currently causing a decline in CHP. EURELECTRIC believes that the policy framework should ensure that CHP can compete fairly with other technologies, making the most of its energy efficiency potential. In order to achieve this, the EU should urgently strengthen the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, foster fair competition between different heating technologies, and ensure that electricity markets incentivise greater flexibility. Member states should ensure that their energy taxation schemes do not lead to barriers for CHP.

EURELECTRIC will publish a more detailed report on the benefits of electrification in heating/cooling and transport in spring.