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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Decarbonising industry and the ICT Sector (EUSEW 2020 side event)

The webinar “Decarbonising industry and the ICT sector: energy and CO2 saving potentials in the short and longer term“, part of the EU Sustainable Energy Week 2020 extended programme, brought together policymakers, researchers, and a cross-sectorial group of business representatives to discuss about:

  • existing technologies and approaches to save energy and reduce emissions in industry and the ICT sector – in the short term
  • policy guardrails needed for a GHG-neutral EU industry and ICT sector – in the longer term

Three impulse presentations were followed by a panel discussion with policy-relevant actors and a virtual interaction with the audience.

Speakers: Peter Hoedemaker, President, European Industrial Insulation Foundation; Jan Ciampor, Policy Officer, Energy Efficiency Unit, DG ENER, European Commission; Antti Valle, Deputy Head of Unit, Energy Intensive Industries and Raw Materials, DG GROW, European Commission; Andreas Guertler, Director, European Industrial Insulation Foundation; Gaël Souchet, Senior Product Manager New Energy Storage, Schneider Electric; Andrea Herbst, Senior Researcher, Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI; Guido Knoche, Senior Advisor for Climate, German Environment Agency (UBA); and Barbara Mariani, Senior Policy Officer for Climate, European Environmental Bureau.
Moderator: Monica Frassoni, President, European Alliance to Save Energy.

The event was co-hosted by the European Industrial Insulation Foundation, the European Alliance to Save Energy, the German Environment Agency (UBA) and the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI.

 

Watch the recording of the webinar here

 

The full presentation is available here

 

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Energy efficiency and the Energy System Integration Strategy

Reducing emissions across all sectors and decarbonizing “hard-to-abate sectors”, which include buildings, industry and transport, will strongly depend on the EU ability to apply the energy efficiency first principle, which should be mainstreamed to all energy policymaking, planning and investments, including into the upcoming EU Strategy on energy sector integration. 

Energy efficiency is the first fuel and should be the starting point for all decarbonization efforts, and this according to the energy efficiency first principle as defined in the Governance for Energy Union Regulation. Together with renewables, it must represent the lion’s share of the measures needed to meet the 2050 target. Energy efficiency and renewable electrification are two key pillars of a 1.5C decarbonization pathway.

To achieve its climate neutrality goal by 2050, the Commission has announced an Energy System Integration Strategy as part of its Green Deal. This new strategy will look at how to facilitate the interlinkages between electricity, heating, building, transport and industry sectors, to better use synergies likely to emerge (including in energy conversion and storage), thereby enabling a more cost-efficient decarbonization of the energy system. This includes looking at how integrating sectors can improve the overall efficiency of the energy system through enabling reuse of excess/waste energy, storage of surplus electricity in thermal networks, buildings and transport as well as to incentivize the clean electrification of sectors, interconnectivity and energy storage.

The recommendations outlined in this paper put forward some key ideas to fully consider the potential for energy efficiency and its role in facilitating the transition towards more integrated energy and other sectors.​

 

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