Brussels – A broad
coalition of 33 businesses, industry associations, NGOs, and think tanks urge
the European Commission to prioritise available efficient and sustainable
solutions to decarbonise Europe’s building stock and avoiding the direct use
of hydrogen for this purpose.
Addressing EU Commission
Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans in
an open letter, the co-signatories underline that to achieve a higher 2030 EU
climate target, massive emissions reductions in the building sector will
be needed (<60% compared to 2015). This requires applying the energy
efficiency first principle and boost the integration of renewables,
as envisaged by the Renovation Wave strategy.
While it is true
that renewable hydrogen can play a role in decarbonising hard-to-abate sectors,
its direct use for heating on a large scale is problematic because it comes
with many uncertainties linked to the scalability, costs of its production and
inefficiencies, the letter says.
To optimise the
process of heat decarbonisation in the medium and long-term, the EU should
favour energy efficiency options as they can immediately deliver real
carbon savings, while accommodating a growing share of renewable sources.
The co-signatories call on the Commission not to overestimate the potential of “zero-emission gas”, which would be mostly imported from abroad. Doing that would constrain EU taxpayers to fund unnecessary infrastructures, such as gas pipelines (or their upgrade), diverting financial resources from immediately applicable and more sustainable heat decarbonisation solutions.