District heating in the EU - What lies ahead?
District heating supplies millions of homes in cities across Europe, representing about 10% of heat supply in the EU. However, most of that runs on fossil fuels, mainly natural gas and coal.
According to a study carried out by the European Commission, district heating and cooling (DHC) is one of the main infrastructures allowing decarbonisation by integrating renewable and carbon neutral energy sources and technologies, and participating in energy system integration.
Acknowledging the potential system benefits of a higher deployment of efficient DHC, the Renewable Energy Directive and its recast, the Energy Efficiency Directive and the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive all include explicit and implicit provisions and implications on the future use and extension of district heating and cooling.
However, the war in Ukraine and its geopolitical implications have shifted the economic fundamentals behind the choice of fuel supplying district heating networks. Before the invasion, some eastern EU countries had made plans to switch their district heating systems to fossil gas, as this was seen as a cost-effective way of meeting the climate goals of EU’s “Fit for 55”. But with the sharp increases in gas prices, these plans are being re-evaluated.
Join this EURACTIV Virtual Conference to discuss the future of district heating in the European Union, in light of the war in Ukraine. How can the EU ensure that the ongoing recast of relevant regulatory frameworks introduces realistic targets for the decarbonisation of district heating? And how much time and investment do industry stakeholders need to adapt to the new geopolitical realities?
Head of Unit, Buildings and Products, DG Energy, European Commission
Head of Energy Strategy Unit, Ministry of Industry and Trade, Czech Republic
Policy Director, Euroheat and Power
Programme Lead Buildings and Heat Grids, Agora Energiewende
Vice-President for Regulatory Affairs, PGE
14:30 – 14:35 Welcome
14:35 – 14:50 Panellist statements
14:50 – 15:40 Discussion and Q&A
15:40 – 15:45 Closing statements
Subscribe to EURACTIV events
In recent years, energy companies operating large combined heat and power plants were looking to switch from coal to gas as a stepping stone towards decarbonisation. Now, soaring gas prices have put question marks over how to lower emissions from these energy and heat-producing installations.