The European Commission has pledged to accelerate the rollout of heat pumps as part of its wider plans to cut dependence on Russian gas.
The REpowerEU plan, which was unveiled by the European Commission in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, proposes that deployment of heat pumps should be front-loaded. This would enable the installation of 10 million units over the next five years, saving a total of 12bn m3 of natural gas.
The plan says accelerating the deployment of heat pumps will require ‘rapid upscaling’ of the entire supply chain, and must be accompanied by measures to boost building renovation and modernisation of district heating systems.
It also sets targets to double the EU’s photovoltaic and wind-generation capacities by 2025, then triple them by 2030, saving 170bn m3 of yearly gas consumption by the end of the current decade.
The plans to electrify heat and energy are part of a three-pronged strategy to ‘at least’ replace the annual 155bn m3 of natural gas imported from Russia by 2030.
Responding to the EU’s plan, nonprofit sustainability organisation RMI said the short-term target of 10 million new heat pumps is a ‘modest and highly achievable’ target based on the current deployment rates, which reached 1.8 million across the EU in 2020. However, it says the EU will need to pick up the pace ‘considerably’ to meet its longer-term goals.