New European legislation on local heating and cooling plans: IS THIS THE MOMENT WE KICK OUT FOSSIL FUELS?

By Adrian Hiel, Head of Media and Campaigns, Energy Cities

Local heating and cooling planning is coming to every city with over 45,000 people in Europe. It is hard to overstate how much of a game-changer this could be for district heating and Europe’s climate ambitions. The key word there is ‘could’.

Art. 25. 6 of the Recast Energy Efficiency Directive, which covers local heating and cooling planning, obliges member states to “support regional and local authorities to the utmost extent possible … including financial and technical support schemes.” It also requires member states to “ensure that heating and cooling plans are aligned with other local climate, energy, and environment planning requirements to avoid administrative burden for local and regional authorities and to encourage the effective implementation of the plans.”

The obligation to develop local heating and cooling plans has been agreed upon in Brussels in a very general way, with few details about how exactly it should be done. That means that how the directive is translated into national law will enormously influence what the final plans will look like. Will they be concrete plans based on the technological clarity of existing, trusted technologies like heat pumps and district heating? Or will they be technologically neutral plans based on fairy tales that one day there might be enough biomethane or that green hydrogen might one day be cheap and plentiful?


HOTCOOL no.4 2024

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