While the Energy Roadmap 2050 Communication rightly acknowledges that “a cost-optimal policy choice between insulating buildings and systematically using waste-heat needs to be found” and that renewable heating and cooling is vital to decarbonisation, a thorough assessment of and strategy for the heating and cooling sector is absent from the analysis.
The conclusions come as an involuntary confirmation of a warning that the International Energy Agency (IEA) had issued only few days earlier when releasing the 2012 edition of its publication Energy Technology Perspective: “Heating and cooling remain neglected areas of energy policy and technology, but their decarbonisation is a fundamental element towards a low carbon economy.” Apparently, this alert remained unnoticed by the delegations in Luxembourg though.
As a new study shows, District Heating and Cooling networks facilitate faster and more cost-effective penetration of local, renewable and surplus energy sources, thereby enabling smooth energy transformation at lower costs (minus 11% as compared to the Energy Roadmap 2050 CPI scenario). The job-creation effect could amount to as much as 8-9 million man-years created in Europe during the 40 year period, due to investments in heat recycling, renewable energy supply, and extended and new heat grids. An opportunity which should be worth to be considered – especially in times of economic crisis!