The European Commission has unveiled a package of proposals aimed at making Europe the world’s first climate-neutral continent by 2050 and making the European Green Deal a reality. The initiative has been named “Fit for 55”, in reference to the goal: to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55 per cent by 2030, compared to 1990 levels. This compares with Australia’s target of a 26–28 per cent reduction by 2030, based on 2005 levels.
Although much of the focus is on boosting renewable energy and reducing emissions from the transport sector, a number of proposals impact the HVAC&R industry:
- The existing EU emissions trading system (ETS) will be expanded to include a separate system for buildings.
- The Renewable Energy Directive will set an increased target to produce 40 per cent of energy from renewable sources by 2030. Specific targets are proposed for renewable energy use in transport, heating and cooling, buildings and industry.
- The Energy Efficiency Directive will set a more ambitious binding annual target for reducing energy use at EU level. The public sector will also be required to renovate 3 per cent of its buildings each year to drive the renovation wave, create jobs and bring down energy use and costs to the taxpayer.
- A new Social Climate Fund will provide dedicated funding to member states to help citizens finance investments in new heating and cooling systems and energy efficiency.
The next step will be for the bloc’s 27 members states and the EU parliament to approve the proposals – a process that could involve years of negotiations. But industry stakeholders have already started sharing their thoughts.
REHVA has supported the call for an “ambitious and coherent” package that aims to boost the uptake of energy-efficiency measures in currently slow-paced sectors such as buildings, and pave the way towards the decarbonisation of heating and cooling sectors by also increasing their renewable energy share.
The EPEE has also welcomed the package, but says there is room for more ambitious measures to accelerate the decarbonisation of the heating and cooling sector, which currently represents roughly half of the final energy consumption in Europe.
According to the EPEE, a sectoral efficiency target would ensure that member states dedicate the required attention to the decarbonisation opportunities in the HVAC&R sector.
For more information on the “Fit for 55” package, click here.