Sector coupling is the new energy buzzword in town. In essence, it means bringing energy supply closer to large consuming sectors such as transport, buildings and industry in search of greater efficiency, more renewables and lower carbon emissions.
In this Special Report, EURACTIV tries to grasp the concept and figure out what it means for the energy transition.
For over a year, one expression – “sector coupling” – has been on everybody’s lips among EU energy policy observers in Brussels. The only problem is none of them share the same understanding of what it actually means.
When it comes to energy regulations, the EU tends to legislate in silos, writing directives on renewables, energy efficiency or electricity and gas markets. But with the upcoming sector coupling strategy, it needs to do exactly the opposite, says Morten Petersen.
Last year, the European Union embarked on a mission to decarbonise the building sector, currently responsible for 40% of the bloc’s energy use. And cities with district heat networks have a head start when it comes to integrating new low-carbon energy sources.
Direct and indirect electrification of transport, buildings and industry could deliver a 60% reduction in carbon emissions across Europe by 2050 – but that will require a massive upsurge in clean power output, according to BloombergNEF, a research company.