Jan Rosenow & Richard Lowes: Heating in buildings is responsible for almost one‑third of total EU energy demand, and around 75% of heat is still produced by burning fossil fuels. The European Union must make decarbonising heat a major priority if it hopes to meet its climate goals for 2030 and beyond. Successful decarbonisation will require a well-coordinated effort across several areas — buildings, heating systems at both the individual and district level, the power sector and the existing heating fuel supply infrastructure. Whichever low-carbon heat technology decision-makers choose, energy efficiency and electrification will play a fundamental role. Energy efficiency reduces heat demand and thereby the investment required to decarbonise heat. It also enables electrified buildings to serve as a flexible resource and to help low-carbon and zero-carbon heating systems operate at higher performance. By reducing demand for and the costs associated with zero-carbon heating, energy efficiency can also support a more socially equitable heat transformation. On a power system level, efficient electrification creates flexible heating systems that can be managed to avoid the carbon-intensive peak hours. Combined with storage, it also supports intraseasonal balancing, particularly in colder climates. While hydrogen is currently expected to be a key vector for intraseasonal balancing, analysis finds that we may have more urgent need for this limited resource in other sectors. Dr. Jan Rosenow and Dr. Richard Lowes have developed a suite of pragmatic principles to underpin Europe’s heat decarbonisation efforts:
Put Efficiency First; Recognise the value of flexible heat load; Understand the emissions effects of changes in load; Design tariffs to reward flexibility.
RAP (accessed) 19th March 2020 read more »