Policy - 07/May/2019

Technology at scale is key to decarbonised heating and cooling

Research from Heat Roadmap Europe and others shows the path ahead to bring the heating and cooling sector in line with the commitments of the Paris climate agreement

Policies to roll out proven technologies at scale are essential if clean energy sources are to replace fossil fuels in heating and cooling systems

What: We have the means to decarbonise energy, not only for electricity, but also for heating and cooling to prevent global warming from breaching the critical 1.5°C rise-in-temperature threshold

How: A massive roll-out of district heating is key to the energy transition to help balance renewables power systems and to achieve across the board decarbonisation; heat pumps will also help to make no-carbon heating affordable

Sticking point: With returns on investment in district heating taking 40-50 years to materialise, market incentives to make it happen are missing

Key quote: “In the UK and the Netherlands it was a public project to build national gas grids. This is what we need to create a district heating market.” 

In the traditional children’s story, Goldilocks tests the bowls of porridge belonging to the three bears to see which is the best to eat. One is too hot, another too cold. But the third is just right, the perfect temperature to be gobbled up. For life to exist, the temperature of our planet needs to pass the Goldilocks test — not too hot or too cold. We want our homes and offices also to be just right.

Creating the perfect indoor temperature is, however, often at the expense of the planet’s equilibrium since most heating and cooling systems are powered by greenhouse gas producing fossil fuels. Getting the decarbonisation of these systems onto the political agenda has been slow going. But heat pumps and district heating are increasingly on policy makers’ lips as they realise the importance of cleaner heating and cooling processes to meet international climate targets. Solutions exist, yet systematic action and dedicated financing remain patchy. ...

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