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Industry welcomes “realistic” F-gas vote

Rapporteur Sara Skyttedal at yesterday’s vote

EUROPE: The EU’s industry and energy committee has voted through changes to the F-gas revision which could allow more time for industry to meet the EU’s climate and energy ambitions.

Rapporteur Sara Skyttedal’s revision proposal, passed by the EU committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) yesterday, states: “The Commission’s proposal on the proposed HFC phase-down would de facto be a phase-out of HFCs in new equipment as of 2027 which would seriously jeopardise the EU’s 2030 climate and energy ambitions and the goal of REPowerEU to accelerate heat pump roll-out.”

The ITRE proposal seeks to delay the EC proposals to restrict HFCs in split systems until 2030 and introduce a similar three-year pause in the proposed new F-gas phase down timetable.

The current EC revision proposal seeks to restrict split systems of 12kW and under to refrigerants with a GWP of under 150 from 2027. Systems with a capacity of more than 12kW would be restricted to a refrigerant with a GWP less than 750 from the same date, except when required “to meet safety standards”.

The ITRE proposal seeks to simplify this rule by rolling it into one, banning the use F-gases in all split systems with a GWP of 750 or more from January 1, 2030. 

It maintains that this delay will help ensure the ambitions of the RePowerEU plan. In addition, it says that safety should remain paramount and “undefined exemptions” should be avoided to ensure adequate implementation of safety rules across Europe. There are currently differing rules across member states with regard to the installation and application of equipment using flammable refrigerants.

The ITRE also calls for a realistic phase down timeline for industry to switch its technological solutions to “natural” refrigerants. It proposes a three-year pause between 2030 and 2033 and a slow down in the timeline from 2042.

The European Partnership for Energy and the Environment (EPEE) has welcomed the ITRE vote, saying it “clearly recognises and supports the need for the growth of the heat pump sector to be able to deliver REPowerEU and the Green deal, and lays the ground for the decarbonisation of heating and cooling”.

Newly appointed EPEE director general, Russell Patten, said: “The vote leads to a more balanced and realistic trajectory for the HFC phase down. This is a great start but there is still some way to go to realise the full potential of the heat pump roll-out, especially in the next crucial 10 years.”

Colleague Mihai Scumpieru, chair of EPEE’s F-gas working group, added: “Protecting the manufacturing sector and installers in the EU across the full supply chain is paramount to ensuring the competitiveness and jobs of the European industry as well as the access to affordable, renewable and energy efficient technologies for consumers in this particularly challenging geo-political context.”

This vote sets the direction and tone ahead of the next steps of the negotiations both in the European Parliament and with the member states in the upcoming Trialogues. Negotiations could be difficult with the EU’s environment rapporteur already calling for stricter proposals.  

Related stories:

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Industry calls for rethink on F-gas proposals – 5 April 2022
BELGIUM: Industry groups have been quick to voice concerns that the EC’s F-gas revision proposal contains “worrying” equipment prohibitions and an “unsustainable” phase-down that risk undermining its own environmental goals. Read more…

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