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04/2009 New Renewable Energy Directive foresees Renewable Heat Ordinances

In December 2008, the European Parliament and Council agreed on a Renewable Energy Directive. This piece of legislation, which is expected to be formally adopted in March 2009, sets the legislative framework for the promotion of energy from renewable sources. The overall goal of the Directive is to achieve the binding European target of 20% of renewable energy by 2020. It sets mandatory national targets and Member States governments will have to develop so called Renewable Energy Action Plans to specify sub-targets for the three sectors, electricity, transport and heating/cooling, and to outline the policy measures to achieve them.

This alone is already a huge step forward, as so far European legislation covered only renewables in the first two sectors, but the heating and cooling sector, which is responsible for almost 50% of Europe's final energy demand, was not covered.

Most of the heating and cooling demand occurs in buildings (the built environment makes up 40% of the total energy demand). Therefore, the Directive devotes several paragraphs to buildings only. Most importantly is Article 13.4, which specifies:

"In these building regulations and codes or any way with equivalent effect, Member States shall by 2015 at the latest, where appropriate, require the use, of minimum levels of energy from renewable sources in new buildings and in existing buildings that are subject to major renovation."

This provision was proposed by the European Commission, who saw the great success of renewables obligations for buildings, which was spreading throughout Europe in recent years. In Europe, the success began with the City of Barcelona and their first Solar Ordinance, followed by more and more Spanish cities, and then the new Spanish technical building code which made solar water heating an obligation for new buildings nationwide. A similar law was enacted shortly afterwards in Portugal. Many counties and municipalities in the UK and in Ireland nowadays require minimum levels of renewables in new buildings, too. And in January 2009, Germany became the latest EU country to make this a national requirement.

The ball will soon be with the Member States' governments, who have to transpose the Renewables Directive into national legislation. National interest groups should promote an early and strict implementation of renewables in buildings. Changes in the building sector occur slowly and it is important to start now to transform it towards a sustainable energy supply. Obligations for small shares of renewables typically spark additional developments in other non-obliged segments (e.g. solar thermal systems that produce more energy than just the minimum required). One of the key benefits is their very low costs for the public administrations. As part of the building permission process, the check on the renewables requirement is minimal and thus this support measure is not much dependent on typically small public budgets.

The ProSTO project, which started in 2008, came just at the right time. It will provide a lot of the answers local, regional and national governments need, when designing successful and efficient renewables obligations.
 
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ProSTO Newsletter
Newsletter No.6 December2010
Promoting Solar Thermal Ordinances in Europe
  • ProSTO policy paper
  • Workshop: The Contribution of Renewable Heating and Cooling Technologies to Smart Cities , Brussels, 9 February 2011
  • Report on the ProSTO Workshop, Committee of the Regions, Brussels, 29 October 2010
  • Report on the ProSTO Webinar “Setting up the right incentives for boosting solar thermal in Europe”, 30 November 2010
  • Spain/Murcia - Workshop, 16 November: Development and implementation of solar thermal ordinances
  • Germany/Stuttgart: Amendment of the Renewable Heat Law “EEWärme” to comply with EU Directive
  • Save the dates 2011
  • ProSTO in the press
Newsletter No.6 December2010
Promoting Solar Thermal Ordinances in Europe
  • ProSTO policy paper
  • Workshop: The Contribution of Renewable Heating and Cooling Technologies to Smart Cities , Brussels, 9 February 2011
  • Report on the ProSTO Workshop, Committee of the Regions, Brussels, 29 October 2010
  • Report on the ProSTO Webinar “Setting up the right incentives for boosting solar thermal in Europe”, 30 November 2010
  • Spain/Murcia - Workshop, 16 November: Development and implementation of solar thermal ordinances
  • Germany/Stuttgart: Amendment of the Renewable Heat Law “EEWärme” to comply with EU Directive
  • Save the dates 2011
  • ProSTO in the press
 

 

 

 

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