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CT2 - 2nd Plenary Meeting in Zagreb

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Highlights Core Theme 2: RES Heat

Headline 1: Smart Finance for Renewable Heat and Cool in the Residential Sector

The first session of the Core Theme on RES Heat focused on the variety of existing support schemes in the residential sector of the Member States. In preparation for the Plenary Meeting, participating countries were asked to answer in which different ways Member States provide financial support to consumers in order to increase the use of renewables. The findings show that the majority of Member States support households through subsidies. A lot of grants and subsidies come directly from central government funding and European funds or from the combination of the two. Good practice presentations from the Netherlands and Italy showcased different scheme types and how schemes’ impacts can be increased. In addition, the lack of consumer awareness and trust are still remaining barriers. Moreover, fossil fuels offer a cheaper alternative in the competition, which is detrimental to the uptake of renewables. There are also split incentives between building owners and tenants that must be overcome, for instance through schemes that allow both to profit from energy and costs savings resulting from building renovation and changes to RES heating systems. Stability of the scheme is also a requirement for finance schemes to incentivize RES Heat.

Headline 2: Access to Finance for RES Heat and Cooling through the Eyes of the Households

The second session explored the patterns across different schemes that are currently targeting households. According to the answers of the Member States, a third of the schemes target specific building or occupant segments. Alongside the development of the financial incentives, professionals need to be trained and information needs to be disseminated in order to support householders in accessing suitable eligible support schemes and choosing qualified professionals they can trust.

During the course of the session, different advisory systems were highlighted, for example, local info renovation centers, telephone support lines, online advisory platforms and consultancy options for multi-apartment dwellings. Participants were also provided with a comprehensive overview about the ENSPOL project that supports Member States in establishing and setting up new Energy Efficiency Obligations (EEOs) and additional measures that support the requirements of the Article 7 of the Energy Efficiency Directive - 2012/27/EU. Also from the energy efficiency side, the group heard that it is important to have a complementary policy mix in place, i.e. combining different policies including information, quality assurance and advice for citizens.

Headline 3: Prosumers - Self Production and Consumption of Renewable Energy in Residential Buildings

First findings and inputs from the recently established Task Force on the topic of prosumers within the Core Theme were presented. In order to reach a higher level of renewable penetration in the heating and cooling sector, the use of flexibility tools, such as demand response and storage need to be addressed in the residential building sector. The attendees of the session became more familiar with the best-practice examples of Portugal and its support mechanisms. In addition, the case studies of Cyprus and Poland sparked the discussion on net-metering schemes and utility support schemes. Among others, awareness about the potential of technical options needs to be increased and support instruments must be adapted because they were not specifically designed for this purpose and would not be adequate to encourage combined use of renewable energy sources in this context. There was consent within the group that self-consumption is an important topic that should be continued to discussed.

Headline 4: Renewable Cooling and Topics for the 3rd Plenary Meeting

An identified topic of interest was Renewable District Heating and Cooling. In preparation for the Renewable Cooling aspect – as it is a less understood and researched topic than Renewable Heating – a Task Force on Renewable Cooling has been established. The first half of the session gave an introduction to Renewable Cooling and participants heard about activities in this area from the Netherlands and France. More detailed research questions will be scoped out after the meeting.

The second half of this session was used to identify future topics and possible cross-cutting themes between CA-RES, the Concerted Action on the Energy Efficiency Directive (CA EED), and the Concerted Action on the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (CA EPBD). Heat storage and the self-consumption support schemes were considered to be topics of future interest.