The European Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET-Plan) aims to transform the way we produce and use energy in the EU with the goal of achieving EU leadership in the development of technological solutions capable of delivering 2020 and 2050 energy and climate targets.
The EU supports the development of heating and cooling (H&C) technologies through its Framework Programme for Research and Innovation and other mechanisms, and by creating the legislative and policy framework needed for these technologies to penetrate the market. The following is a chronological overview of some of the actions taken to support H&C research and the market uptake of H&C technologies in the EU, in addition to a more general look at recent actions in support of the SET-Plan.
Heating & Cooling
- The European Heat Pump Association (EHPA) was set up in 2000. Its members comprise heat pump and component manufacturers, research institutes, universities, testing labs and energy agencies. Its key goal is to promote awareness and proper deployment of heat pump technology in the European market place for residential, commercial and industrial applications.
- The European Technology Platform on Renewable Heating and Cooling (RHC-Platform) was created in 2008, at the initiative of the European Commission, to bring together over 600 industry and research stakeholders representing all renewable energy technologies for heating and cooling. The Platform’s mission is to provide a framework for stakeholders to define and implement a strategy to increase the use of renewable energy sources for heating and cooling, and to foster the growth and competitiveness of the relevant industries.
- In its 2009 Directive on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources (RES Directive, 2009/28/EC), the European Commission called on Member States to take steps to develop district heating infrastructure to accommodate the development of heating and cooling production from large biomass, solar and geothermal facilities.
- The European Energy Research Alliance Joint Programme on Bioenergy, launched at the end of 2010, contains a stationary bioenergy sub-programme, with work packages addressing energy, environmental and user aspects of small-scale domestic heating and cooling systems, including micro-CHP, and industrial and municipal combined heat, power and cooling. The overall objective of this sub-programme is to align pre-competitive research activities to give a technical-scientific basis for the further development of biomass-based energy systems and to explore the possibilities for joint technology development.
- In December 2011, the European Commission published its Energy Roadmap 2050, in which it underlined that renewable heating and cooling are vital to decarbonisation. The Roadmap stresses that a shift in energy consumption towards low-carbon and locally produced energy sources (including heat pumps and storage heaters) and renewable energy (e.g. solar heating, geothermal, biogas, biomass), including through district heating systems, is needed.
- In 2012, the JRC published three reports related to heating and cooling. The first, a Background Report on EU-27 District Heating and Cooling Potentials, Barriers, Best Practice and Measures of Promotion, provided background information on potentials, barriers, best practices, the state-of-the-art and measures for the promotion of District Heating and Cooling to aid policy-making. The second report - Heat and cooling demand and market perspective - aimed to identify the existing and prospective demand for heat and cooling by sector. Finally, a report on the Best available technologies for the heat and cooling market in the European Union aimed to identify the current and future heat and cooling demand and the technologies employed in the domestic, commercial and industrial sectors of the EU.
- In 2014, the JRC published a review of factors affecting the environmental and economic life-cycle for electrically-driven heat pumps. The report presents an overview of the main factors characterising life-cycle cost methodologies for heat pump systems and identifies which factors have the greatest impact on the results. It also suggests methodological improvements to be employed in order to make life-cycle cost analyses more robust.
- In February 2015, the European Commission published its Framework Strategy for a Resilient Energy Union with a Forward-Looking Climate Change Policy, in which it noted that heating and cooling are the largest single source of energy demand in Europe and that, in order to capture huge efficiency gains, the Commission would propose a strategy to facilitate investment in heating and cooling by the end of 2015.
- On 25-27 February 2015, the Commission organised a conference on Heating and Cooling in the European Energy Transition, at which European and national policy-makers, representatives from industry, businesses and consumer associations, NGOs, local and national authorities, academia and research institutions met to discuss issues facing the heating and cooling sector.
- In February 2016, the Commission published a Communication on An EU Strategy on Heating and Cooling aimed at informing and providing inputs to the ongoing review of relevant EU legislation, which has an impact on the supply and use of heating and cooling, and on the assessment of the role and contribution of this sector in achieving the EU energy and climate goals.
- In March 2016, EASME, the Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, published an Overview of the market uptake activities and projects they fund in support of the new Heating and Cooling strategy.
- The European Heat Pump Association (EHPA) held its Heat Pump Forum 2016 in Paris in May 18-20. Participants in the forum discussed successful European and national climate and energy policies and how they benefit from and affect heat pumps.
- The European Energy Efficiency Platform (E3P) was launched in April 2016 to deal with the scattered data and fragmented knowledge resulting from a rapidly growing energy efficiency market. This platform, currently in beta stage, is conceived as an interactive and collaborative online tool, and is expected to be both a one-stop shop for information retrieval and a meeting point for experts to exchange data and reduce redundant activities. Several of the 6 thematic areas potentially concern heating and cooling, for instance buildings, industry, urban areas, and energy generation and distribution.
General SET-Plan related news and activities from JRC/SETIS
© iStock/Carmine Salvatore
- The Joint Research Centre has published a number of reports in the first three months of 2016. The 2015 Geothermal Energy Status report presents the current status of the major geothermal energy technologies ranging from ground source heat pump systems and direct use facilities to geothermal power plants. Results from a second study - Energy Efficiency and GHG Emissions: Prospective Scenarios for the Aluminium Industry - show that, in 2050, the energy consumption and direct greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of the European aluminium industry could be decreased by 21% and 66%, respectively, if the sector adopts innovative technological solutions instead of following a conservative technology deployment path. The JRC-EU-TIMES report Bioenergy potentials for EU and neighbouring countries is the first in a series on renewable energy potentials, and addresses the quantification of current and future biomass potentials for energy systems. The sets of data produced are input to the JRC-EU-TIMES model to analyse the main drivers of future biomass use within the energy systems.
- In February, the European Commission published a Consultation on A sustainable bioenergy policy for the period after 2020 to consult stakeholders and citizens on an updated EU policy on sustainable bioenergy for the period 2020-2030. The Consultation ran until 10 May 2016.
- The 24th European Biomass Conference and Exhibition took place in Amsterdam on 6-9 June. The event provided a unique overview of the state of play in the sector and a clearer view of the role biomass can play in achieving the transition to a low-carbon economy.
- EU Sustainable Energy Week 2016 was held in Brussels on 13-17 June. This event brought together public authorities, energy agencies, research organisations, NGOs, businesses, and private consumers to share best practices and inspire ideas on secure, clean and efficient energy. At the event the European Commission organised a session on the InnovFin Energy Demo Projects facility and how you can be part of it. The session presented the Energy Demo Projects Risk Finance Facility, the first projects to benefit under it and their experience with the due diligence process of the European Investment Bank (EIB).
- To facilitate the SET-Plan implementation, organisations (universities, research institutes, companies, public institutions and associations) involved in research and innovation activities in the energy field are invited to register in the European energy R&I landscape database, which aims at facilitating partnerships and collaboration across Europe. Registration is open to stakeholders from the EU and H2020 associated countries. Organisations are able to indicate their area of activity according to the energy system challenges and themes, as identified in the SET-Plan process towards an Integrated Roadmap. The database is publicly available on the SETIS website.
- The first two SET-Plan Steering Group meetings were held in Brussels on 20 January 2016 and on 15 March 2016. They dealt with SET-Plan Actions 3 and 4 addressing "the future smart EU energy system, with the consumer at the centre" and with Actions 5 and 6, which aim to "develop and strengthen energy-efficient systems" respectively. An additional SG meeting took place in Amsterdam on 13 April 2016 hosted under the Dutch presidency of the EU Council to discuss the Implementation Plan which follows the adoption of the Declarations of Intent. A number of meetings have been scheduled throughout the year to discuss the remaining targets, to be set through the adoption of Declarations of Intent.
- The first agreements reached between representatives of the European Commission services, representatives of the EU Member States, Iceland, Norway, Turkey and Switzerland, (i.e. the SET-Plan Steering Group) and representatives of stakeholders, on the definition of strategic R&I targets took place during the first half of the year. The agreed Declarations of Intent concern the Actions 1 & 2 and 5 & 6 of the Integrated SET-Plan dedicated to Europe "Being n°1 in renewables" and "Developing and strengthening energy-efficient systems".
- The 9th SET-Plan Conference ‘Energy Union: towards a transformed European energy system with the new, integrated Research, Innovation and Competitiveness Strategy’ is to take place in Bratislava, Slovakia on 30 November - 2 December 2016.