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EU states demand action on decarbonisation

EUROPE: Fifteen European member states have signed an open letter urging the European Commission to publish its delayed Heat Pump Action Plan and revise the “outdated” Heating and Cooling Strategy. 

The countries – Latvia, Austria, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, France, Ireland, Greece, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain – insist that clear political signals are needed to deliver on the decarbonisation of the sector.

In December, the Commission announced it was postponing the Heat Pump Action Plan – which would set out how it planned to achieve its pledge to install 10 million additional heat pumps by 2027 – until after next month’s EU elections. The EU Heating and Cooling Strategy, published in 2016, provided an overview of the energy consumption and fuel mix of the heating and cooling sector at that time, and set out its possible contributions to climate neutrality by 2050.

The letter insists that action is needed due to the long investment cycles and the necessity to engage citizens, consumers and investors to contribute to the energy transition in the heating and cooling sector. Without it, the states claim there is a “significant risk” of long-term carbon lock-in, and ultimately stranded assets, which will be difficult and expensive to correct if steps are not taken in the period until 2030.

“We need clear political signals in an upcoming framework to deliver on the decarbonisation of the sector, including taking stock of existing regulatory measures, implementation of those specific policy measures and targeted public and private financial support to create stable conditions and enable investment fully in line with the energy efficiency first principle,” the letter states. 

“Speeding up the deployment and increasing the demand for renewable heat and cooling solutions will not only play a significant role in decarbonisation and in the long term increase affordability for all consumers, but also contribute to EU competitiveness in providing a scalable market for European flagship renewable industries, such as heat pumps.”

In a similar letter in January, 19 European energy industry organisations, including NGOs, consumer groups, and think tanks, warned the Commission that failure to publish its Heat Pump Action Plan put the energy transition in heating at risk.

The European Heat Pump Association had previously warned that the postponement of the Heat Pump Action Plan had effectively “slammed on the brakes” on the heat pump roll out at a time when sales of heat pumps were slowing down in Europe.

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