HOT|COOL NO. 2/2017 - "The Winter Package"


By Udo Wichert, Managing Director of STEAG Fernwärme GmbH/Essen and President of AGFW/Frankfurt am Main, Germany

Combined heat and power (CHP) and district heating are technologies which have been acknowledged for years for their high efficiency and delivering renewables to urban areas. They are the real key to the real “decarbonisation” of European economy. The district heating sector in Europe is willing to increase the share of renewables in the generation – and we are aware of the importance of this step. However, this must go hand in hand with removal of obstacles and inequalities amongst technologies. The specific features of the heating and cooling sector must be observed, since heating and cooling differ considerably from electricity supply. In conclusion, we can say that EU’s recognition of the heating sector and strong support to DHC is a unique opportunity that needs to be welcomed. We all see that the support is not unconditional – the European Commission is asking for assurances about which version of DHC people will end up getting. Therefore, we must be open-minded, accept the offer in principle and start working with the EU institutions and national governments to get the details right in practice. So I think the next two years will be very busy and exciting in Brussels as well as in our home countries for the DHC sector!

In October last year, the European Commission’s Vice President for the Energy Union, Mr. Maroš Šefcovic said: “If we want a cost-effective transition to a low-carbon economy, we have to create an internal energy market where European rules apply”. Regarding to this, we had an intensive look into the papers published on November 30th last year, called “CLEAN ENERGY FOR ALL EUROPEANS”. We are talking about more than 4,500 pages, setting the scene for the EU policy on energy for the period 2020 – 2030. But what about heating? Even though heating accounts for half of European final energy consumption, the sector has long been overlooked by EU policy makers, who focused only on electricity, gas, oil and transport sectors. In 2015-2016, we finally witnessed a steadily increasing interest in DHC (district heating and cooling) and the heating sector itself, pushed by new discussions on energy security and the recognition of great ”decarbonisation” potential. So DHC is being recognized by local authorities and cities taking the lead in climate change efforts. In 2016, the first EU heating and cooling strategy proposed by the Commission, recognizing the important role of DHC has been issued. This year we hope to see the first proposals of EU legislation that will shape our sector. But back to the great ideas of the “Clean Energy Paper”: There are several legislative proposals important for the district heating sector, such as the revision of the Energy Efficiency Directive, the revision of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive and last but not least the recast of the Renewable Energy Directive. Here we see some major effects that we need to discuss.

For further information please contact:

AGFW | The Energy Efficiency Association for Heating, Cooling and CHP Stresemannallee 30 D-60596 Frankfurt/Main Germany

Phone: +49 69 6304-278


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