The lights will stay on in Europe with 50 million heat pumps

In a joint launch on July 5, 2021, the European Heat Pump Association together with 13 utilities from different parts of Europe made this statement to encourage the European Commission and the Member States to further promote the efficient electrification of heating by heat pumps as part of the energy transition, the EU Green Deal, and the fit-for-55% package. They confirm that electrification is a reliable solution towards a zero-emission Europe.

In the proposed EU strategy for Energy Systems Integration, the Commission foresees 40% of all residential and 65% of all commercial buildings being heated with electricity by 2030. Electric heat pumps will play a central role in the path towards decarbonizing heating and cooling over the next 10 years and beyond, in Europe as well as in other parts of the world.

Electric heat pumps are the most cost-effective solution to substantially reduce CO2 emissions and energy demand, while improving air quality, especially in cities. Switching from fossil fuel boilers to electric heat pumps will reduce final energy consumption in buildings and will reduce the CO2 emissions generated by heating end-uses at the European level potentially bringing it close to zero.

During the launch, it was confirmed that the large-scale roll-out of electric heat pumps will not jeopardize the security of the supply of electricity in Europe, not now and not in the future, according to the utilities. The EU electric network is a robust and meshed system. Operators have been working together for decades to ensure a constant and high level of grid stability and have successfully faced similar challenges in dealing with the millions of electric devices which have been deployed in all households across the EU in recent years. In addition, smart control functions are increasingly embedded in this equipment. Electric heat pumps are now connected products, making it possible to offer remote monitoring services. Therefore, they are part of the solution for the electrification towards a climate-neutral society.

The undersigning parties, confirm that the large-scale deployment of heat pumps as forecast in the energy system integration strategy:

  • Will not jeopardize grid stability nor security of supply,
  • Will significantly increase energy efficiency in buildings,
  • Is needed to achieve ALL EU energy and climate objectives and improve air quality,
  • Helps integrate much higher shares of renewable electricity in the grid,
  • Will lead to a more stable grid, thanks to smart capabilities enabling demand side flexibility.

Read more at European Heat Pump Association (EHPA): https://www.ehpa.org/about/news/article/the-lights-will-stay-on-with-50-million-heat-pumps-material-now-available/

The Technology Collaboration Programme on Heat Pumping Technologies (HPT TCP) by IEA has recently started on an international collaboration project to develop and demonstrate how heat pumps, large and central as well as small and distributed, can offer flexible solutions to support the electric grid.

Read more about Annex 57Flexibility by the implementation of heat pumps in multi-vector energy systems and thermal networks