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Decarbonisation of the heating and cooling sector

STRIDE – Improved energy planning through the Integration of Smart Grid concepts in the Danube Region

Decarbonisation of the heating and cooling sector

The European Commission has published four studies containing analyses on various aspects of decarbonisation of the heating and cooling sector in the EU. 

Currently, about half of Europe’s energy is used for heating and cooling, most of which is based on fossil fuels. Therefore, the reorientation of the heating and cooling sector towards the use of renewable energy has the potential for significant decarbonisation of the energy system and to the achievement of the EU’s energy and climate goals for 2030 – and, ultimately, to climate neutrality until 2050.

The EU is already addressing the decarbonisation of heating and cooling through several legal instruments, in particular the Renewable Energy Directive. However, progress on national and EU policies in this sector in Bulgaria is often hampered by a lack of reliable data and a lack of in-depth knowledge of market and regulatory frameworks – all of which are needed to develop cost-effective pathways and decarbonisation measures.

The aim of these four beforementioned studies is to close the knowledge gap and support the implementation of existing EU legislation by providing comprehensive and in-depth analyses of key aspects of the considered sector. The studies can be described as the following:

  • A roadmap for policy support for heating and cooling decarbonisation, which contains an analysis and policy recommendations for industry and space heating. It offers a comprehensive overview of existing knowledge, including a complete review of key literature.
  • A study on renewable space heating under the revised Renewable Energy Directive, which presents a comprehensive overview of data on consumption, technology, fuel mix and regulatory frameworks. It incorporates best practices for renewable energy communities, while modelling possible decarbonisation pathways.
  • A study on district heating and cooling in the EU, which describes existing market and regulatory frameworks and presents ten concrete examples to illustrate successful models for integrating renewable energy and waste heat resources into heating and cooling networks.
  • A Renewable Cooling Study, which provides a detailed overview of the EU cooling market and contains an analysis of the Delegated Act on the methodology for account renewable energy used in cooling and district cooling, adopted on 14 December 2021.

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