Heat pumps boost Europe’s transition to clean energy

Heat pumps boost Europe's transition to clean energy

Heat pumps provided just 10% of the world’s heat for buildings in 2021, but a recent report on heat pumps by the International Energy Agency notes that their use is indeed gaining momentum across Europe as countries seek to reduce their reliance on Russian gas imports while cutting carbon emissions.

“Heat pumps have the potential to reduce global carbon dioxide emissions by at least 500 million tonnes by 2030,” the IEA said. Forecasts for Europe, where heating in buildings accounts for a full third of use, include cuts in gas demand of at least 21 billion cubic meters by 2030.

About 60% of buildings in are already equipped with heat pumps, along with more than 40% in and . These figures help dispel the myth that heat pumps do not work well in cold climates, the IEA said.

In Poland, Italy, Austria and the Netherlands, heat pump sales doubled in the first half of 2022, while growth across the was 35% in 2021, well above the global figure of 15%.

However, heat pump deployment offers both advantages and challenges. Most homes and businesses that switch to heat pumps will see cost savings over time, with energy costs reduced by an estimated $900 per household in Europe. But the upfront costs are still quite high for most, and subsidies and other programs like Poland’s support for low-income households are needed to support the transition.

As with many technologies, these installation costs may decrease with time and wider use.

“In some mature markets, such as and Japan, the cheapest models of air-to-air heat pumps have become cheaper than gas boilers for new installations in single-family houses, thanks in particular to reduced pipe work and reduced installation costs.” report notes.

The Czech Republic is one of the European countries that has changed building codes to facilitate the use of heat pumps, and the IEA is calling on governments to take measures that remove barriers to the installation of heat pumps. In countries like Germany, where taxes on electricity have made gas sources seem cheaper in the past, price reforms have helped make heat pumps more attractive.

There is also a need for skilled personnel to install and maintain heat pumps, with proposals to integrate heat pump expertise into existing certifications in heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) and other relevant industries. More than 1.3 million workers will be needed until 2030, of which 20% are in Europe.

“Coordinated efforts are needed to reduce market and regulatory barriers and strengthen supply chains,” the IEA added, “as reflected in the recent proliferation of new government policies and roadmaps to encourage the use of heat pumps.”

These policies include the EU’s plan and the United States (US) Inflation Reduction Act. Both measures were adopted in 2022 and take into account the increased demand for electricity provided by heat pumps and other clean energy measures.

The options for businesses also continue to evolve. Part of the work is underway to develop alternatives for industry, especially in the paper, food and chemical industries, or for specific applications in the textile or automotive industry. These options can be enhanced by incentives such as Germany’s program to cover up to 55% of the cost of a heat pump for certain industrial installations.

The (EBRD) has already invested more than $86 million to install 30,000 heat pumps, mainly in Central and Eastern Europe.

And in places like above, large-scale installations can replace systems that rely on fossil fuels. Two proposals are under consideration, leading to 40% reliance on heat pumps if both are implemented.

The post Heat pumps strengthen Europe’s transition to clean energy appeared first on Sustainability Times.

Source: Shelf life

Source: sn.dk

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