The European Union has a plan to deploy heat pumps on a large scale, and quickly

Image: Sonar – Depositphotos.

The European “RePowerEU” plan aims to accelerate the deployment of heat pumps, in particular by doubling the rate of deployment over the next five years.

Since the start of the war in Ukraine, energy policy in Europe has undergone a 360° change. Heat pumps have undoubtedly always been a critical technology for the decarbonisation of heat, not only in Europe but worldwide.

In addition to being vital for decarbonization, heat pumps are considered a fundamental technology to improve the energy security of the European Union and reduce imports of Russian gas.


Why heat pumps?

Although heat pumps use electricity, the heat that a heat pump transfers to a building is inexhaustible energy from the environment.

heat pumps they provide much more useful heat than the electricity used to power themmaking it a cost-effective technology for decarbonizing space and water heating in buildings.

A heat pump running on electricity generated solely from fossil gas would reduce overall gas consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. But as the share of low-carbon electricity continues to grow across Europe over the coming decades, the gas savings and emission reductions provided by heat pumps will also increase.

This combination of efficiency and ability to use low-carbon electricity explains why heat pumps play an essential role in the decarbonization of heating in buildings, district heating networks and low-temperature industrial processes for many studies on decarbonization pathways.

Heat pumps, energy efficiency.

The European Union’s “RePowerEU” plan aims to accelerate the deployment of heat pumps, or even to double the pace of deployment over the next five years. To achieve this accelerated pace of change, Member States will need to take many more steps before the new legislation is introduced.

Banning fossil fuel heating is an obvious and fundamental policy measure. The Netherlands and Denmark have already taken steps to ban gas in new buildings.

New energy labeling and ecodesign standards for space heaters would prevent new, less efficient gas-fired condensing boilers from being sold on the EU market. This minimum energy performance standard should be accompanied by a ban on fossil fuel heating with reasonable waiting times.

In the short term, national governments should ensure that households are funded to purchase heat pumps, with subsidies being an easy option.

There is a lot to do and very little time.

The challenge now is to quickly implement policies at the national level that bring about immediate change, to bring about structural change from fossil fuel heating in the future.

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