ASHRAE European Policy Update – April 24, 2024

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 April 24, 2024
 
Welcome to ASHRAE’s European Policy and Funding 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 and Funding Updates webpage.
EU Regulatory Updates
 
Council of the EU formally endorses EPBD provisional agreement
 
On 12 April, the Council of the EU formally adopted the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD), following the draft deal agreed with the European Commission December 2023. The EPBD establishes that emissions from the European building sector shall be reduced by 60% by 2030, and completely by 2050. Moreover, all new buildings shall be zero-emission as of 2030 (as of 2028 if they are occupied or owned by public authorities).
 
As a reminder, on heating and cooling (H&C), Member States shall provide incentives to encourage the switch from fossil-fuel-based heating and cooling systems, also replacing stand-alone boilers powered by fossil fuels. The Directive establishes that, from January 2025, Member States shall not provide any financial incentives for the installation of stand-alone boilers powered by fossil fuels, and they shall aim to completely phase out fossil fuel boilers by 2040.
 
As for the next steps, followed by the Council’s endorsement, the text is ready to enter into force as of 2025.
 

 
Euroheat & Power responds to EU’s Funding Consultation on energy efficiency
 
On 18 March, the Euroheat & Power (EHP), the European association promoting sustainable district heating and cooling, submitted its response to the European Commission’s consultation on the assessment of the energy efficiency funding. With the EU’s ambitious climate neutrality objectives, EHP underlines the importance of decarbonizing the heavily fossil-fuel-reliant heating sector and shares key recommendations. Firstly, EHP proposes to establish dedicated heat funds at the EU and national levels to better address the fragmented financing landscape for clean heating projects. Moreover, the accessibility and transparency of public funding should be enhanced, with extended project financing timeframes and streamlined submission procedures. Secondly, the EHP stressed the importance of providing support for public authorities and operators through Project Development Assistant initiatives and Technical Assistance Programs. Finally, the EHP also proposes to assess the value of attracting private investment in DHC sectors, such as establishing insurance schemes and advocating for blended finance schemes at the national level. Overall, the EHP’s response underscores the significance of coordinated action and innovative financing mechanisms to accelerate the clean heating transition and achieve EU climate objectives.
 

 
EU National Updates
 
EHPA reveals heat pump sales dropped in 2023
 
On 15 April, the European Heat Pump Association (EHPA) released a publication, laying out the reasons behind a decrease in European heat pump sales in 2023. According to EHPA’s new investigation into 16 European markets, including those of France and Portugal, there has been a 5% drop from the 2.77 million units sold in 2022 to 2.64 million in 2023. There appear to be various reasons for such a decrease depending on each country. In the case of France, the core reason for the drop in sales was a slowdown in new housing projects caused by high interest rates. When it comes to Portugal, the main reason was the rocketing inflation, which was hitting consumers and slowing spending.
 
Thus, EHPA underscored the importance of addressing these challenges and revitalizing the heat pump market to ensure energy independence and decarbonization of the heating and cooling sector.
 

 
 
Heat pump uptake falling short of expectations and risking UK net zero goals
 
According to The Independent article, the roll-out of clean heat pumps to replace boilers has been significantly low in the past few years. The article notably discusses a report from the UK National Audit Office (NAO) warning about the low uptake of clean heat pumps, which in turn, is slowing the progress on cutting emissions from homes. Despite government ambitions, the report highlights low installation rates due to high costs and limited public awareness, with the uncertainty surrounding the role of hydrogen in home heating further complicating the situation. The NAO report found that heat pump installations would need to accelerate 11-fold if the government is to reach its target of 600,000 heat pumps installed in homes every year by 2028. However, the current government measures appear insufficient to meet this ambition. Shortly before the report was finalized, the UK government revealed that it would delay by a year a scheme requiring heating installers to fit more low-carbon heat pumps, which is expected to make the targets even harder to reach. The clean heat market mechanism, which was set to go into force In April 2024, was intended to encourage the installation of heat pumps by mandating manufacturers to meet a steadily increasing percentage of their installations with heat pumps or risk facing a fine. The mechanism, with a scheme providing grants for heat pump installations, was said to deliver two-thirds of the installation target by 2028, and thus, its delay will cause a further slower uptake of heat pumps in the UK.
 

 
Energy Cities Fossil-free heating and cooling workshop
 
On 7-8 of May 2024, Energy Cities will host a workshop on fossil-free heating and cooling will be held in the city of Rijeka, Croatia. The event is the last of a series of 6 workshops that will be held in 6 different cities within the SSH CENTRE project (Social Sciences and Humanities for Climate, Energy and Transport Research Excellence): Cacak, Serbia; Grenoble, France; Arnhem, The Netherlands; Porto, Portugal; Valencia, Spain; Rijeka, Croatia.
 
More information and registration are available here.
 

 
TES webinar “Stakeholder Engagement and Market Analysis: From Inhabitants to building owners and Neighborhood Associations”
 
On 7 May 2024, the Thermal Energy Storage (TES) Cluster will hold a webinar “Stakeholder Engagement and Market Analysis: From Inhabitants to building owners and Neighborhood Associations”. The webinar will feature experts from four EU-funded projects: ECHO, BEST-Storage, HYSTORE, and ThumbsUp. These projects are all working towards a cleaner and more resilient Europe by advancing energy efficiency, renewable energy integration, and sustainability.
 
More information is available here, while the registration is available here.
 

 
Euractiv online event on Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD)
 
On 23 May 2024, Euractiv will host an online event entitled “Building a sustainable future – the revision of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive”. Among the topics to be discussed during the event, are the feasibility of implementing the measures of the EU Member States, the existing initiatives addressing energy efficiency and renovation of buildings as well as compatibility of EPBD with the EU’s climate ambitions.
 
More information is available here, while registration is available here.
 

 
EHPA online event on the heat pump technology innovation
 
On 22 May 2024, the European Heat Pump Association (EHPA) will host an online event “Pushing for Innovation in Heat Pump Technology”. During the event, the winners of the 2023 Heat Pump Awards will showcase their groundbreaking projects in heat pump technology.
 
More information is available here, while the registration is available here.
 

 
European Heat Pump Forum & Award 2024
 
On 25-26 September 2024, the European Heat Pump Association will host the European Heat Pump Forum & Award. The event will gather top policymakers and industry actors to celebrate the EHPA’s 24th anniversary.
 
More information is available here.
 

 
Glossary
EU

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.

UK

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.

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