Shifting as little as half of the annual 3.2 billion euros fossil heating subsidies paid by EU countries to heat pumps can transition Europe to 100 per cent renewable heat by 2040, according to a new report released on Monday (23 October) by the European Environmental Bureau (EEB).
The report revealed that a manageable extra investment totalling 21 billion euros over the upcoming decade and a half could ensure a “fairer and cleaner energy landscape” for all: a 7-year payback for all citizens installing heat pumps and full upfront cost coverage for families in need. With carbon taxation, the investment could be scaled back to 14 billion euros, the EEB said in a press release.
The study also analysed the first 12 draft National Energy and Climate Plans (NECPs) presented by Member States and found that ambition in decarbonising heating and cooling is lacking in most of them. Poland has an “incredibly low” target of sustainable heating in its draft of the national climate and energy plan (NECP), coupled with the “least ambitious” heat pump target in the EU, according to Davide Sabbadin, Deputy Policy Manager for Climate at the EEB.
“…it’s like the Polish government is not aware that Poland is today one of the largest markets for heat pumps in Europe and does not believe what its own citizens are doing. Besides, it’s one of the 10 countries that still support fossil fuels in heating (domestic heating) in one way or another. Particularly worrying is the support for gas boilers, pushing people from one fossil dependency (coal) to another one (gas),” Mr Sabbadin tells CEENERGYNEWS.
The study demonstrated that over an 18-year period, the average cost for heating a house with a heat pump would be roughly 50 per cent smaller in comparison to gas, with a 5-year payback time for the investment in the case of mid-to-low income Polish households. “Over the 18 years time, the investment would give a return of more than 300 per cent, meaning it would payback three times the initial investment. This of course takes into consideration the subsidies that are there at the national level,” he adds.
Poland, together with Italy, France and Germany, was one of the most important supporters of gas and oil boilers in 2022, Mr Sabbadin notes. “That money would be certainly better spent to help those families that don’t have savings that can complement the national subsidies: for those low-income households, a 0 per cent loan would be needed, whose cost would amount roughly to 900 euros per family,” he says.