19 Oct 2020

EHP welcomes the Renovation Wave Initiative

On 14 October the European Commission published the Renovation Wave Initiative, a strategy to trigger building decarbonisation in Europe. The strategy’s objective is to at least double the annual energy renovation rate of residential and non-residential buildings by 2030 and to foster deep energy renovations. In order to achieve this, the strategy identifies seven areas of intervention with lead actions that are critical to enabling such a scale of renovation, three of which are considered a priority for policy and financing: tackling energy poverty; renovating public buildings and decarbonising heating and cooling.  

This is very positive for our sector as it reflects that policymakers have acknowledged that the renovation of buildings cannot happen alone but has to go hand-in-hand the decarbonisation of heating and cooling supply.

The strategy also calls for a more central role for waste heat, mentioning that its use should be broadly promoted together with the integration of renewables produced both on-site or nearby. Specifically, the share of renewables and waste heat would have to increase to 38-42% to reach the new 2030 target objective.   The strategy also recognises another important concept which we have always supported and promoted, which is the need to adopt a district approach for renovations efforts. Particularly, it emphasises that addressing renovation challenges at this level allows aggregation of projects to pave the way for positive energy districts with systems such as DHC.  
This will be translated into different policy initiatives, which will keep us busy in the coming months, specifically: the revision of the Energy Efficiency Directive, the revision of the Renewable Energy Directive, the extension of the EU emission trading system (ETS) to emissions from buildings and the partial review of the Energy Performance of Building Directive. DHC is also expected to be allocated with a substantial budget coming from the EU Modernisation Fund aimed at supporting investments in the modernisation of district heating pipelines.  

To conclude, Euroheat & Power welcomes the strategy, whose focus is very positive for our sector, and it is very pleasing to see that policymakers have acknowledged that there can’t be a Renovation Wave without the decarbonisation of the heating and cooling sector and that the two go together. We have come a long way from the days of “the cheapest energy is the energy we don’t use” and we have exciting times ahead of us in the planning. Together with the communications on Energy System Integration and the 2030 target, this communication confirms that the Commission identifies DHC as an essential infrastructure to decarbonise our cities.