On June 20th, the HotMaps project was presented during the European Sustainable Energy Week’s event “The green revolution starts at home” . Organised by a coalition of industries, EU-funded projects (PLANHEAT, HOTMAPS and RELaTED) and the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the event provided an overview of the heating and cooling sector in Europe with its opportunities, tools and technologies available for local, regional and national authorities.
Representatives from the cities of Vienna and Antwerp stressed the importance of local governments actions for decarbonizing heating & cooling networks and provided an overview of their achievements and plans, underlining the need to involve all local stakeholders (companies and citizens) to succeed. According to Julien Dijol, from Housing Europe, the neighbourood is also a very important level to consider when talking about decarbonisation.
Dr. X. Garcia Casales from IRENA pointed out the necessity of immediate action “We can’t look at 2050 to decarbonise Europe, we need to act today”. Indeed, as explained by the European Commission representative Eva Hoos, the European Union set in place a new legal framework which is very convenient for energy communities & self-consumption, but it is now up to each Member State to implement it.
All three projects presented their solutions to support the local heating and cooling transition in cities and regions. Softwares such as the ones developed by HOTMAPS and PLANHEAT can assist cities and regions in their heating and cooling planning, while RELaTED is piloting an innovative ultra-low temperature concept for thermal district energy networks.
As pointed out by the moderator of the session, T. Nowak – Secretary General of the European Heat Pump Association, political will seems to be the main obstacle to decarbonisation. He was echoed by a representative of the DecarbHeat initiative, who also called for the immediate decarbonization of heating and cooling as a key measure to reach EU 2050 goals, insisting on the preparedness of the industry: “the recent impasse at the Council serves as a crystal clear window onto the real obstacles to decarbonization: beyond financing and investment costs, the lack of political ambition is the most discouraging sign of how everyone seems to be ready for the transition, except for some national leaders”, said Jean-Marc Jossart, Secretary General of Bioenergy Europe.