Bankwatch Network: Energy from waste along with energy from renewable sources poses risks in the Energy Efficiency Directive

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Raya Lecheva

Being interchangeable with waste energy from renewable energy poses risks in the Energy Efficiency Directive. This was announced by Morgan Henley, CEE Bankwatch Network at the conference "Clean Energy for People", organized by the environmental association "For the Earth". The RES Directive should address waste incineration in more detail. But this could be problematic if waste is imported to be used for heating.

The directive is currently being revised in order to meet the European Green Deal target of a 55% reduction in emissions by 2050. Energy efficiency is the first important principle when we talk about EU energy policy. The Council is expected to vote next week on a common approach to the Energy Efficiency Directive, another vote is due in July and a final vote in September by the Commission, the European Parliament and the Council.

Our goal is to make sure that there are no loopholes in the legislation. The potential for highly efficient cogeneration and efficient central heating is currently being discussed. Efficient heating or cooling means 50% renewable energy, 50% waste energy, 75% cogeneration and 50% combination of such energy or heating. It would not be sensible to supply coal-fired power plants just because we want heat for cogeneration, because the goals could be blurred, Henley said. In fact, great care must be taken with the use of biomass, which is a depleted resource. It is much more reasonable to use geothermal power plants, not to include cogeneration plants is one of the concerns. In addition, fewer public buildings are included in the scope of the directive. Until 2035, the use of gas is still allowed. According to Bankwatch Network Yes, we can focus on the production of heat from renewable sources.

The risk is that fossil fuels will continue to be used in countries such as Poland, the Czech Republic, Germany, there are many cogeneration plants, cogeneration is part of central heating, but we will not be able to decarbonise the heating sector.

According to the directive, cogeneration must be phased out by 2035, and renewable energy sources must be used by 2040. According to the organization, other opportunities to stimulate fossil fuels should be eliminated. But the local heating market in municipalities with more than 50,000 people needs to be supported.

The risk of Europe continuing to use fossil fuels

Some countries fear that the Czech presidency will maintain a more conservative model, because the Czech Republic uses coal on a large scale and will not be too insistent on more radical reforms. New elements of the RepowerEu instrument do not envisage increasing the ambitions of the Energy Efficiency Directive.

Many countries will have to end their dependence on Russian fossil fuels, but we fear that this may not happen, the Bankwatch Network fears. Countries like Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Bulgaria do not think that the ambition can increase more. Some are trying to return coal-fired power plants, but ideally this is a short-term measure, I hope Henley. And if some raise the targets of other countries and others return to coal, that will not be a good signal for European policies.

Bankwatch Network's recommendations are a definition of central heating and cooling to promote exclusive renewable energy, to clearly end the use of fossil fuels. The directive is so important because signing it will have serious financial opportunities and will definitely have an impact on public funding, Henley added. Heating and cooling solutions need to come locally, consumption needs to be reduced, but unfortunately it is growing.

Minimum standards for renovation will be introduced, certificates for energy performance of buildings will be updated, commented Eva Bardinelli, CAN Network, coordinator of building policy, on the upcoming changes in the directive on energy performance of buildings. In the EU, 35 million buildings to be renovated. All public authorities to rehabilitate at least 3% of the building stock each year. A separate emissions trading scheme for buildings and transport is being considered. But the most important thing is to support the energy vulnerable. For the first time, reference is made to deep remediation to achieve 60% savings.

The goal is to have highly efficient buildings and everything that remains must be covered by RES.

Member States to comply with energy efficiency rules, but to create a framework to support energy-poor households. By 2027 to stop subsidies for heating with fossil fuels. Countries need to create adequate funding. The Commission cannot ask for financial instruments and tax incentives to renew. The aim is to update the energy performance certificates A and G - the highest and the lowest, shorter validity period of the lowest class. Indoor air quality must be assessed, so it will be necessary to install air assessment devices, to double the deployment of heat pumps. For the first time, the rapporteur on the directive, MEP Radan Kanev from the EP Committee on the Environment, introduced the concept of a holistic approach depending on the type of building, promoting the use of RES not only on site but also by the network and full reporting on remediation results.

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