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ITRE approves measures to mainstream renewable heat and cooling – ambition welcomed by trade bodies

Described as a "landmark vote", the European Parliament’s Committee for Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) has approved new measures to mainstream renewable energy in the heating and cooling (RES-H&C) up to 2030 in the revision of the Renewable Energy Directive (RED II). In a joint statement, AEBIOM, EGEC and Solar Heat Europe welcome the adoption and ambition of the measures and call on the European Council to uphold it.

Representing the renewable heating & cooling (RES-H&C) industries in Europe, the European Biomass Association (AEBIOM), European Geothermal Energy Council (EGEC) and Solar Heat Europe welcome the adoption of a new, key measure to promote further deployment of RES-H&C up to 2030 (Art. 23), in the report on the revision of the Renewable Energy Directive, voted by the ITRE Committee today.

“The vote in European Parliament on the Renewable and the Energy Efficiency Directives puts the heating and cooling sector on track to be free from fossil fuels. Decarbonising the heating and cooling sector can only be done by exploiting synergies between energy efficiency and renewable policies in terms of actions, technologies and ambitious policies”, said Philippe Dumas, Secretary-General, EGEC, here seen at the recent AEBIOM European Bioenergy Future (EBF) conference in Brussels, Belgium.

While greatly appreciative of the ambition of rapporteur MEP Blanco Lopez’s report in the level of annual increase of RES-H&C, the signatories express regret that such ambition is not matched with binding obligations on Member States (MS). This, they say, would have ensured the best framework to unlock the RES-H&C potential in Europe, creating a strong market for RES-H&C technologies and ensuring EU’s global leadership in the sector.

However, the signatories duly note that provisions for reporting progress on the article’s objective might partly compensate for the lack of a binding target, giving the industry enough information and perspective for investments, and setting accountability for the Member States.

“The building sector is about 40 percent of EU’s total energy consumption, and most of this is heating. Tackling it is essential for a full decarbonisation of our economies. We warmly welcome the constructive approach to promoting RES in new buildings taken today by the European Parliament”, said Pedro Dias, Secretary-General, Solar Heat Europe, here seen (right) at the recent AEBIOM European Bioenergy Future (EBF) conference held in Brussels, Belgium.

According to the trio, the report contains other important tools to promote the decarbonisation of heating, such as measures towards the greening of district heating (Art. 24), or the reinforcement of measures for the deployment of RES in new buildings (Art. 15), complementing the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive measures voted on October 11.

All in all, they consider today’s vote as a step in the right direction saying that these measures are “highly welcomed, and show the European Parliament’s commitment to reaching its long-term climate and energy objectives”.

Decarbonising EU’s heating sector is seen as a major challenge for the Member States, as well as an opportunity for generating local jobs, fostering growth, establishing energy independence and creating healthier environments. They call upon the European Commission and the Member States in the Council to join the Parliament in its commitment to tackle Europe’s climate and energy challenge.

“This vote shows the European Parliament understanding that tackling the H&C sector is essential to reach our long-term climate objectives. We hope the Council will follow this approach and acknowledge the underlying economic and environmental benefits of decarbonising the H&C sector”, said Jean-Marc Jossart, Secretary-General, AEBIOM, here seen at the recent AEBIOM European Bioenergy Future (EBF) conference held in Brussels, Belgium.

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