It seems there was skepticism inside the Commission towards creating this parity, and this may also be expected among green movements and certain business organizations. Member States could be expected to be positive towards parity, as it would make the achievement of the RED goal easier and cheaper, and will enable the "cheap" surplus heat to finance the construction of district heating and cooling infrastructure in the cities. The RED also contains a proposal on sustainable biomass. This proposal is being assessed by the DHC sector in all countries. The assessment in Denmark is that it is reasonably close to the voluntary framework used in the Danish sector agreement for sustainable biomass. EED and EPBD The Commission proposes much more modest changes in the directives on energy efficiency and buildings, where the aim seems to be to extend (in time) current provisions, clarify certain issues, add focus to fuel poverty and moving Member States’ reporting obligations to the package proposals on governance. The package is now being reviewed by the EU Council of Ministers and the European Parliament. The Maltese Presidency has launched the work of the Council of Ministers with the Energy Efficiency and Building Directives already in early January, and expect to push for adoption before summer of a Council position. Discussions on the RED have been opened, but all stakeholders now primarily focus on assessing the impact of the many proposals. The remaining proposal in the package, not least the proposal on design of the electricity market, is expected to be taken up by the Estonian presidency in the second half of this year. Much more information on “Clean Energy for all Europeans” can be found here: https://ec.europa.eu/energy/en/news/ commission-proposes-new-rules-consumer-centred-clean- energy-transition
It is therefore proposed that EU Member States “endeavor”, as the Commission formulates it, to increase RE in heating and cooling with one percentage point annually by 2020, but with full flexibility, as there is no specific requirement for countries in how to achieve it. It is furthermore proposed in the RED for Member States to provide DHC consumers with the right to challenge district heating and cooling systems that are not efficient, and – with some limitations - seek other options by disconnecting. The definition of an efficient district heating or cooling system is, according to the Energy Efficiency Directive, that it "uses at least 50% renewable energy, 50% waste heat, 75% cogeneration, or 50% of a combination of such energy and heat". It is also proposed that such non-efficient DHC systems (again with certain limitations) must provide heat producers with RE heat or surplus heat with direct access to - through the grid – final customers.
This proposal is not warmly received throughout the European district heating sector, and it certainly is a challenge to confront. Keeping customers on board and honoring existing planning, where implemented, is important to an integrated approach to an efficient heating and cooling supply which avoids sub-optimized solutions on a project-by-project basis. Current legislation (EED) also aims at promoting efficient district heating and cooling when, based on a cost-benefit analysis, a cost-benefit surplus over efficient individual heating and cooling supply options is shown. A main deficiency in the RED proposal is that full equality between RE and surplus (waste) heat is not created. The Commission has chosen not to create parity, so that use of surplus heat - which does not express use of fuels – could count as RE, but paradoxically promotes net heat production for heat pumps as such. This even though a share of electricity used in heat pumps will originate at thermal power plants emitting surplus heat. This beggars the question: how far from a thermal power plant must a heat pump be placed before the heat it upgrades, with electricity from the power plant, becomes renewable? Is inside the fence acceptable, just outside or far away? And then why isn’t surplus heat directly extracted from the power plant considered RE?
For further information please contact:
Dansk Fjernvarme Att.: Birger Lauersen Fjernvarmens Hus Merkurvej 7 DK-6000 Kolding
Phone: +45 7630 8000 firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos: Nils Rosenvold
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