2050 Vision for 100% Renewable Heating and Cooling in Europe

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  • by RHC-ETIP

This Vision is intended to provide a clear prospect for the heating and cooling (HC) sector by 2050. It helps to understand the potential of the various renewable heating and cooling technologies and it shows, through a multidisciplinary approach, the way to follow to achieve a carbon-free HC sector by 2050. Both technical and non-technical issues are discussed, along with the presentation of relevant best cases.

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The vision in a nutshell

100% renewable energy-based heating and cooling (100%RHC) in Europe IS POSSIBLE by 2050.


The real challenge is to set up coordinated strategies at European, national, and local levels to reduce fossil fuels to zero by 2050. The narrow window of opportunity due to the long lifespan of heating and cooling (H&C) systems requires public authorities to maximise efforts in the next decade.


Solar thermal, geothermal, bioenergy, district H&C, and ambient and excess heat recovery -complemented with renewable electricity- are the backbone of a radically new, user oriented, carbon-neutral, efficient, reliable, and flexible energy system.


Such a system will harvest locally available renewable energy sources (RES) providing considerable employment and economic benefits to the local economies and the European Union (EU) and at the same time involve end users and counteract energy poverty.


Switching from the EU’s over 400 billion cubic meters of fossil fuel imports to employment creation is hugely valuable.


The provision of 100% RHC in cities, districts, buildings, and industrial processes will be characterised by larger renewable energy (RE)-based DHC networks on different scales (from city wide systems to local micro networks) delivering cost-effective outcomes in high-density areas and self-supply through local RHC systems in rural and low-density areas. The latter will optimally integrate different RHC technologies into installation-friendly (plugand-play) and easy-to-manage hybrid systems.


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