Highlights Core Theme 2: RES Heat

CT2 - 3rd Plenary Meeting in Warsaw

Headline 1: Renewable Cooling - Challenges and Solutions for Recognising the Contribution of Cooling towards Achieving the RES Directive Targets

Core Theme 2 on RES Heat held a total of three parallel sessions on the topic of renewable cooling, a topic that was determined to be of interest during the 2nd Plenary Meeting in Zagreb.  

During the 1st parallel session, participants were provided with an overview of the broader policy context of the topic through two presentations, one by a representative from Eurostat and the second by a representative of the Joint Research Centre (JRC). These helped to understand current energy statistics concepts and methodology and the role renewable cooling plays towards the achievements of the 2020 RES targets. The discussion showed that there is currently no agreed upon EU-wide definition of renewable cooling. As a result, limited data on the cooling demand and renewable cooling share is collected across Europe. Cooling makes a substantial share of final energy demand, but the contribution that could come from renewables would be highly dependent on how the concept is defined. Furthermore, Spain presented current local renewable cooling projects and technologies that are in place. The 2nd parallel session of CT2 focussed on the status of renewable cooling within the participating Member States. The CT2 Leader presented the results of their scoping exercise of current renewable cooling practices within Europe. The Netherlands and Portugal provided information on their efforts to increase the share of renewables in cooling.

During the 3rd parallel session, participants were treated to a presentation by a representative of the Oeko Institut, who presented the initial results from a study looking to collect background information on current and future cooling demand in the EU. The study also looked at available renewable cooling technologies and explored possible methodological approaches for calculating renewable cooling. Another presentation was given by the European Geothermal Energy Council highlighting developments in renewable cooling technologies.

The discussions that took place during the three parallel sessions of CT2 showed that it was difficult finding agreement on a calculation methodology and definition of renewable cooling among the participating Member States. The participants pointed out that the definition can have a significant impact on how renewable cooling is incentivised. They, however, largely agreed that minimum efficiency standards should be set for cooling technologies as with heat pumps used for heating.

Core Theme 1 & 2: RES Electricity & RES Heat

Headline for the Joint Session: Self-Consumption Combined with Heat Pumps and Storage. Options for Flexibility and System Integration of Renewables

This joint session was led by Core Themes 1 and 2, bringing together their separate initial explorations of the topic of self-consumption during the 2nd Plenary Meeting in Zagreb. The CT2 Taskforce on the topic of self-consumption of renewable heat was extended to include aspects (and members) from CT1 in order to include the overall perspective for the electricity system, in particular effects on the grid and the flexibility potential of self-consumption combined with heat pumps and storage. The joint session explored different aspects how power-to-heat both at the centralized level and at the prosumer level can contribute to the energy system. To achieve a contribution to decarbonisation through power-to-heat, high efficiency technologies (e.g. heat pumps) and a relatively high share of RES in electricity are necessary. The participants of the joint session found that the aspect of flexibility provision through power-to-heat is of mixed importance for participating Member States, depending on their share of variable RES and on their local distribution. Although flexible power to heat options at a large scale level are considered a relevant option in some MS for balancing purposes, currently numerous barriers to using power-to-heat exist, including high regulatory price components for electricity, relatively stable prices (ie low differential between peak and off peak prices), which do not make flexibility provision economically viable and need to be addressed. At a household level a further barrier is the missing rollout of smart meters in some MS. The participants concluded that the potential of using power-to-heat to increase self-consumption strongly depends on the region and does not necessarily provide benefits for the overall system.  Furthermore, for it to be successful in the future – MS raised the point that it would require greater public awareness for householders to “buy-in” to the concept. The use of power-to-heat technologies varies strongly between member states, where use on the prosumer level to increase residual self-consumption is not very relevant at the time being, but might become more relevant in the future.

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