25 October 2023 - Welcome to ASHRAE's European Policy Update!


25 October 2023
Welcome to ASHRAE's European Policy Update! This monthly publication features information on policy and funding-related activities of interest to ASHRAE members in Europe. Archives of previous updates are available from the ASHRAE European Policy Updates webpage.
EU Regulatory Updates
EU Legislators Reach An Agreement on F-Gases
On 16 October, after a failed attempt before the summer break, EU legislators finally reached an agreement on new European rules governing the use of fluorinated gases, particularly in heat pumps and electrical switching devices. The agreement aims to prohibit the sale of electrical switching devices using fluorinated gases (F-gases) in the European market according to a phased schedule, starting from 2026 for low-voltage devices, 2030 for medium-voltage devices, and 2028 for high-voltage devices using fluorinated gases with a high global warming potential (GWP). However, the heating industry expresses concerns about rules that could potentially slow down the transition away from fossil fuels. Various exemptions have been introduced to prevent disruptions to electrical grid operations. F-gases regulation aims to reduce and contain emissions of fluorinated greenhouse gases, which are harmful to the environment. Now, it needs to be approved by the European Parliament and Member States.

Commission Welcomes the Provisional Agreement
on F-Gases
On 5 October, the Commission welcomed the provisional agreement reached by the European Parliament and the Council on strengthened rules to massively reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from fluorinated gases (F-gases) and ozone-depleting substances (ODS). Building on existing EU legislation which has already limited the use and emissions of these gases significantly, the Regulations agreed will prevent almost 500 million tons of further emissions by 2050. It will contribute to the EU's 2030 climate targets of at least 55% emission reductions and help make Europe climate-neutral by 2050. The next needs now to be approved by the European Parliament and Member States.

European Commission Decision on National Parliament Opinions on F-Gases
On 4 October, the Commission published its decision regarding the follow-up to national parliaments' opinions on fluorinated gases (F-gases). The document states that during the negotiations, the Commission will insist on the need to strike the optimal balance between all the objectives sought, including the need for the proposal to have a clear scope of application. Discussions on the Net Zero Industry Act have been taken forward under the Swedish Presidency and continue under the Spanish Presidency. In line with the European Council conclusions of 29 June 2023, the Commission remains hopeful that an agreement of the co-legislators, the European Parliament and the Council, will be reached in this legislative cycle.

Exchange of Views With the Commission
on Geothermal Energy
On 19 September, the members of the European Parliament Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) engaged in a discussion with Mr. Kolinski, a representative of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Energy (DG ENER), regarding the potential of geothermal energy in the European Union. Mr. Kolinski outlined the EU's policy framework, highlighting geothermal energy's significance as a renewable source for heating and electricity production and stressing the need for technology-neutral legislation and more data to further advance the sector. The MEPs expressed regret that geothermal energy has not received adequate attention in the green transition, called for simplified permitting procedures, and emphasized the importance of geothermal energy in achieving green targets and ensuring EU energy independence.

Industry Coalition Urges Inclusion of Low-Carbon Energy in "Zero-Emission Buildings" Definition
On 19 September, a coalition of industry organizations, including Eurelectric, WindEurope, the European Heat Pump Association (EHPA), smartEn, E.DSO, and Avere, issued a joint statement urging the European Parliament to align with the Council's position in the upcoming trilogue on the revision of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD). They contend that the Commission and Parliament's proposal overly restricts the flow of energy from the grid, primarily through complex and inaccessible power purchase agreements (PPAs) for private residential consumers. While the Parliament advocates for zero-emission buildings powered by renewables with some exceptions, the Council's position allows for carbon-free energy sources and does not mandate renewable energy for urban heating and cooling systems, prompting industry organizations to seek alignment with the latter.

Open Letter from Leading Industries Ahead of COREPER I Meeting on NZIA
On 4 October, leading European associations representing strategic net-zero technologies and civil society organizations wrote a letter to the Ambassadors of EU Member States ahead of the 6 October COREPER I meeting. In response to the draft report, they raised concerns over the significant change of direction the draft report suggests for the Net-Zero Industry Act (NZIA). The Net-Zero Industry Act is an initiative stemming from the Green Deal Industrial Plan which aims to scale up the manufacturing of clean technologies in the EU.

CLEPA, Hydrogen Europe, Wind Europe
Joint Statement on PFAS
On 4 October, CLEPA, Hydrogen Europe, Wind Europe and others published a joint statement on the importance of fluoropolymers for the clean energy transition and the EU’s Net Zero Industry Act. Their statement calls on the ECHA and the European Commission to consider an exemption for fluoropolymers from the universal PFAS restriction, citing the importance of fluoropolymers for the clean energy and digital transitions and the EU’s Net Zero Industry Act. The PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) Regulation bans or severely restricts the production and use of persistent organic pollutants in the European Union. 

Keynote Speech by Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson at Heat Pump Forum 2023
On 28 September, Commissioner Simson delivered a keynote speech at the Heat Pump Forum 2023. While acknowledging the challenges, including the fact that over 70% of heating relies on fossil fuels, the EU emphasized the importance of transitioning to renewable energy sources and efficient district heating and cooling. The EU outlined its initiatives, such as the 'Fit for 55' package and the Heat Pump Action Plan, aimed at boosting heat pump adoption and supporting clean tech manufacturing to drive the transition toward cleaner heating and cooling solutions.  

Bioheat Released its Bioenergy Report 2023
On 6 October, Bioenergy Europe released its 2023 report which highlights the key role that biomass plays in the production of renewable heat and provides the reader with detailed data in this regard. The data covers a range of indicators such as consumption by member states, fuels used, the role of biomass in industrial heat production and decentralised heating systems. Through this report, readers will become aware of the importance of heating in the EU27 energy mix, both industrial and residential, but also of the versatility of biomass when it comes to meeting these needs.  

EU National Updates
Germany Access Funds from the Recovery and Resilience Facility
On 18 September, Germany initiated the process of accessing funds from the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) by submitting its first payment request. Simultaneously, the country requested modifications to its recovery and resilience plan. These actions demonstrate Germany's commitment to utilizing RRF resources while making necessary adjustments to its plan to address evolving priorities and financial requirements.

French Ends Up Subsidies for Gas Boilers
On 8 October, France concluded the saga surrounding the removal of subsidies for gas boilers. Initially slated for abolition on 1 January 2024, the subsidy's fate saw uncertainty when an amendment, proposed by several gas companies including Engie, led to the retention of the subsidy in an initial decree published on 30 September. Ultimately, the French government issued a new decree on 6 October confirming the removal of the subsidy effective from 1 January 2024

UK Invests $230 Million to Improve Energy Efficiency of Public Buildings
On 10 October, United Kingdom’s Department for Energy Security & Net Zero announced more funds funding to schools, hospitals and public buildings to lower energy use and save on bills, and cut carbon emissions. Public sector organizations can now bid for a share of £230 million to help make low-carbon energy upgrades to their buildings. The funding has been made available through Phase 3c of the scheme, with organizations able to spend the money allocated in the 2024 to 2025 financial year – on top of further funding for 2025 to 2026.

Deadline for Call for Proposals on EIC Pathfinder Challenge
On 18 October, the deadline for the EIC Pathfinder Challenge closes at 17:00 CEST. This Challenge aims to explore new devices, processes, components and materials for cooling. The proposals may include smart interoperability solutions for electricity, heating and cooling networks integration, including reversible heating and cooling infrastructures, or cold-to-power solutions with waste heat and cold energy streams recovery from industrial processes, data centres and/or air conditioning of buildings.
More information is available here.

Event on Innovation to Heat Buildings and Cut Gas Consumption
On 24 October, the Sustainable Long-term Investments & Competitive European Industry Intergroup will host an event on innovation and energy efficiency. They will explore and identify the right mix of energy and technologies to cut gas consumption and reach the EU climate neutrality goals in a socially acceptable and economically competitive way.
More information is available here, while registration is available here.

European Roundtable on Climate Change and Sustainable Transition
On 30 October, the European Parliament’s Roundtable on Climate Change and Sustainable Transition will host a discussion on the Certification Framework for Carbon Removal (CRCF). The roundtable will discuss key takeaways from the report by the rapporteur from the responsible committee in the European Parliament and provide an opportunity to exchange views on how it addresses concerns from different stakeholders.
More information is available here, while registration is available here.

EUROPEAN COMMISSION: The European Commission is made up of 27 Commissioners, 1 for each Member State, and represents the interests of the EU as a whole. Every Commissioner is in charge of a Directorate-General (DG) that can be compared to a Ministry at national level. The European Commission proposes legislation in the form of Regulations and Directives and submits them to the Parliament and Council for discussion and adoption.

EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT: The European Parliament is made up of 705 MEPs (see below) that are directly elected by EU citizens in 27 Member States.

MEP: Member of the European Parliament, a co-legislator within the EU that is made up of representatives from political parties throughout Member States.  

COUNCIL OF THE EU: Co-legislator, made up of representatives from Member State Governments. Has a six-month rotating presidency, currently held by the Czech Republic until the end of 2022. 

EUROPEAN COUNCIL: The European Council is made up of the leaders of the EU member states, commonly known as EU27. It defines the EU’s overall political direction and priorities but does not pass laws.

REGULATION: EU legislative act that is binding in its entirety and is to be applied in its entirety across the EU by all EU Member States.

DIRECTIVE: EU legislative act that sets out a goal that all EU Member States must achieve. However, it is up to the EU Member States to adopt their own laws on how to achieve the EU goals enshrined in the Directive. 

HORIZON EUROPE: is the EU’s main and biggest Research and Innovation programme for the period of 2021-2027. The programme has an overall funding of €95,5 billion. The program is divided into three pillars: open science, global challenges & industrial competitiveness and open innovation.  
INVESTEU: The InvestEU Programme builds on the successful model of the Investment Plan for Europe, the Juncker Plan. It brings together, under one roof, the European Fund for Strategic Investments and 13 EU financial instruments currently available. Triggering at least €650 billion in additional investment, the Programme aims to give an additional boost to investment, innovation and job creation in Europe.

EUROPEAN GREEN DEAL: is a set of policy initiatives by the European Commission with the overarching aim of making Europe climate neutral in 2050. The plan is to review EU’s energy and climate laws to bring them in line with this ambition. Green Deal also introduces new legislation on the circular economy, building renovation, biodiversity, farming and innovation.
FIT-FOR-55-PACKAGE: The European Commission’s work program for 2021 included the revisions and initiatives linked to the European Green Deal climate actions and in particular the climate target plan’s 55 % net reduction target are presented under the Fit for 55 package. The package is compiled of two parts, released on 14 July 2021 and 14 December 2021.
REHVA: is the association of European heating, ventilation and air-conditioning associations, based in Brussels.
You can find all relevant EU building policy related information in this useful document.

BILL: A bill is a proposal for a new law, or a proposal to significantly change an existing law. A bill may start in either the Commons or the Lords and must pass a series of stages in each Houses. Once the bill has been agreed by both Houses, it receives Royal Assent and becomes an Act of Parliament.

HOUSE OF COMMONS: the House of Commons is the lower house and de facto primary chamber of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Like the upper house, the House of Lords (see below), it meets in the Palace of Westminster. The Commons is an elected body consisting of 650 members known as members of Parliament (MPs). Members are elected to represent constituencies by the first-past-the-post system and hold their seats until Parliament is dissolved.

HOUSE OF LORDS: The House of Lords scrutinises bills that have been approved by the House of Commons. It regularly reviews and amends Bills from the Commons. While it is unable to prevent Bills passing into law, except in certain limited circumstances, it can delay Bills and force the Commons to reconsider their decisions.

For additional information on European policy issues, please contact Brusselsoffice@ashrae.org

Get To Know ASHRAE

facebook twitter InstagramLogo_1726238.png linkedin YouTube_icon.png

180 Technology Parkway
Peachtree Corners, GA 30092
To avoid having ASHRAE messages blocked by spam-blocking software, add brusselsoffice@ashrae.org to your address book.
You are receiving this email from ASHRAE because you are a member, purchased a product/service, or requested to be notified of educational opportunities from ASHRAE. To no longer receive these updates, unsubscribe or manage your email preferences.