Decarbonising the building and heating sectors: considerations on carbon pricing

Energy efficiency should be the starting point for all decarbonisation efforts. Carbon pricing can play a role in this, as it can provide incentives for the fuel switch and to some extent for energy efficiency investments. Yet, it should not replace impactful regulatory measures in the building sector driving the energy savings necessary to meet climate neutrality.

 

We believe carbon pricing in the building sector can only work effectively and efficiently if:

  • Its modalities are thoroughly assessed to gauge its potential benefits for the building sector
  • It is part of a well-designed broader policy mix
  • It includes a resilient mechanism for reinvesting its revenues to prevent and reduce energy poverty

 

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Inputs for economic recovery, resilience and long-term sustainability

This short paper outlines the inputs of the European Alliance to Save Energy to achieve a green economic recovery, resilience and long-term sustainability in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

These include spending criteria and quota that should be applied in both the Recovery and Resilience Facility Regulation (RRF), currently being negotiated by the European Parliament and Council, as in the National Recovery and Resilience Plans (NRRPs).

The paper calls for prioritising investments in areas such as energy efficiency rather than lock-in resources in fossil fuel infrastructures that undermine the achievement of the Union’s climate and environmental objectives.

A key area of intervention to boost energy efficiency and cut CO2 emissions is represented by buildings. In the NRRPs, Member States should priorities cost-effective renovation programmes that foster the quality, rate, and depth of comprehensive renovations.

Technical assistance is also essential to remove the hurdles for local authorities, SMEs and corporate investments to implement energy efficiency projects and renovate the building stock.

 

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Decarbonising Europe’s buildings with available solutions, no hydrogen

Meeting the EU’s goal of achieving a climate neutral economy by 2050 will require a steep reduction in gas demand, and such reduction will need to start before 2030. This means the EU should focus on immediately available and cost-effective solutions, starting from energy efficiency and renewables, especially for buildings.

While green hydrogen can play a role in decarbonising the EU economy, its pathway comes with many uncertainties linked to the costs of its production, its inefficiency and effective application and should therefore be limited to hard-to-abate sectors only.

As for the heat policy for decarbonisation of buildings, the paper calls for the acceleration of energy efficiency options that can immediately deliver real carbon savings, while accommodating a growing share of renewable energy.

 

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