Achieving the EU climate objectives – a reduction of the overall GHG emissions by 80-95% by 2050, compared to 1990 levels – requires a complete transformation of our energy systems. To get there, we need to take a holistic approach, and to maximise synergies between sectors and systems.
Heating and cooling in buildings and industry today account for half of the EU’s final energy consumption. Optimising this sector is therefore essential if the EU wants to be climate-neutral by 2050. To do that, integrating heating and cooling, electricity, transport, water and industry, to create smart energy systems is key. In interlinking the different parts of the energy system, sector coupling can contribute to a cost-efficient, secure and reliable energy transition over the next decades.
The potential is significant, but to unlock it different energy sectors need to combine their expertise, and a legislative framework must be put in place that not only facilitates but also encourages it. Therefore, the electricity, gas and (district) heating and cooling sectors should work together to tackle any barriers imposed at EU and national level.
EURACTIV invited to this Stakeholder Workshop to discuss the path towards the integration of the EU’s energy sectors. Questions included:
- How can sector coupling help achieve the EU climate goals?
- How can renewables be used most efficiently to integrate energy systems?
- How can district heating and cooling networks act as integrators?
- What more can be done to better combine the expertise from different energy sectors?
- How can industry overcome barriers at EU and national level?
- What role does digitalisation play in enabling flexibility in the systems?
- How can cities drive forward an ambitious agenda on energy transformation?
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