Reaching energy and climate goals demands a dramatic scaling up of clean energy technologies, starting now – heat pumping technology being one of the most important ones.

Release of the IEA Energy Technology Perspectives 2020 report

“To be in line with the SDS [IEA’s Sustainable Development Scenario], the share of clean heating technologies – heat pumps, district heating, renewable and hydrogen-based heating – needs to more than double to 50% of sales by 2030.”

The IEA has released its flagship report Energy Technology Perspectives, 2020 edition (ETP 2020).

According to the ETP, a major effort to develop and deploy clean energy technologies worldwide is urgently needed to meet international energy and climate goals, particularly in order to reduce carbon emissions from areas beyond the power sector such as buildings, industry and transport.

With global carbon emissions at unacceptably high levels, structural changes to the energy system are required to achieve the rapid and lasting decline in emissions called for by the world’s shared climate targets. ETP 2020 analyses more than 800 different technology options to assess what would need to happen to reach net-zero emissions by 2070, while ensuring a resilient and secure energy system.

The ETP finds that transitioning just the power sector to clean energy would get the world only one-third of the way to net-zero emissions. Completing the journey will require devoting far more attention to the transport, industry and buildings sectors, which today account for about 55% of CO2 emissions from the energy system. Much greater use of electricity in these sectors – for powering electric vehicles, recycling metals, heating buildings and many other tasks – can make the single largest contribution to reaching net-zero emissions, according to the report, although many more technologies will be needed.

Thus, heating buildings is pointed out as a crucial sector in order to reach climate goals. More specifically, heat pumps are amply highlighted in the report, as a crucial part of the Sustainable Development Scenario (SDS).

As an example, sales ratios of heat pumps (as a proportion of total sales of building heating equipment) need to increase drastically, if the SDS should be reached, see figure 3.19 from the ETP (below). This is valid for all regions of the world.


Further, the figure below (from Box 7.3 of the ETP) shows that in the SDS, heat pumps (third bar from the top, in yellow) need to reach a large market share: 25% by 2028 of the installed heating equipment in capital stock, and 50% by 2051.

Box 7.3


Also the significant impact of heat pumps in industry is emphasized, see fig 2.9. The large CO2 emission reductions in the industry sector from electrification are led by the continued electrification of low-temperature heat needs through industrial heat pumps.

In addition to the use in for space heating in buildings and for industrial use, ETP 2020 points out several other energy-effective uses and specific points of heat pumps. These include domestic hot water (p 76), in district heating (p 161), for high-performance buildings (p 161), and for cooling (p 167). Also, gas-fired and hybrid heat pumps are highlighted (p 163), as are also the demand-side response enabled by heat pumps (p 84). The importance of further innovation is also mentioned (p 101).

In summary, the necessity of RDD&D of heat pumps is pointed out a number of times in the report. Thus, it is clear that heat pumps are acknowledged as a key technology for a sustainable future.

Press release:

Energy Technology Perspectives 2020: