The decarbonisation of the Heating and Cooling (H&C)  sector is a crucial step towards a carbon neutral energy system by 2050, as it represents almost half of the total energy consumption. Despite the fact that buildings and industry represent roughly 92% of the heating needs, the decarbonisation rate and exploitation of the renewables has been relatively slow. Decarbonisation of the building stock requires to stop the installation of fossil fuels heating systems. Switching the energy carriers from fossil fuels to the similarly combustible renewable fuels while maintaining the existing equipment and delivery systems should be considered only for a limited share of the building stock, as resources will remain limited. The supply of renewable gases and liquids, which can directly replace fossil fuels in the existing equipment will be insufficient in the case demand increases or too expensive compared to other alternatives. Changing the  H&C system in buildings would provide a unique opportunity to maximize energy efficiency across the entire energy system but such transitions can prove disruptive, as they require substantial construction work. Decarbonisation of industrial heat demand is also challenging as solutions need to be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Transforming the H&C sector requires simultaneously the reduction of energy use and the deployment of renewable H&C solutions. Since H&C has a direct impact on citizens, the involvement of a variety of stakeholders and the upskilling of construction workers are of paramount importance. The aforementioned facts emphasise the need for not only a comprehensible and integrated financial-fiscal strategy for the sector, but also for appropriate policy measures.

In its roadmap project “Policy Support for Heating and Cooling Decarbonisation” – by the European Commission – Directorate General for Energy aims to provide policy support for policy makers and stakeholders to explore pathways and agree on solutions to decarbonise the European H&C sector. A meta-study was elaborated in order to systemise the knowledge base of decarbonisation solutions in order to produce a roadmap that highlights their complexities. The meta-study consists of three parts:

  1. Strategies for the decarbonisation of H&C in buildings. The studies included in the Meta-study identify a multiple of barriers and the need for an integrated policy towards the decarbonization of the H&C system.
  2. Decarbonising industrial heating and cooling. The second part of the meta-study covers decarbonisation strategies for process heat. The studies agree that the main barriers for decarbonizing the industry are lack of high capitals investments and lack of market ready policies to promote the decarbonization in industry.
  3. Energy carriers and infrastructure.  The third part consists of different decarbonisation strategies

The approach emphasises flexibility and acknowledges that there is no “fit-for-all” solution.

To find out more click here.