Heat pumps are at the centre of the European Commission’s REPowerEU plan to ditch Europe’s dependence on fossil fuels, with a target to deploy 60 million heat pumps by 2030. The proposed bans on F-gas would not only endanger the bloc’s objective, but also jeopardise Europe’s broader climate and energy security goals.
Brussels, 23 March 2023 - Heat pumps are at the centre of the European Commission’s REPowerEU plan to ditch Europe’s dependence on fossil fuels, with a target to deploy 60 million heat pumps by 2030. The proposed bans on F-gas would not only endanger the bloc’s objective, but also jeopardise Europe’s broader climate and energy security goals.
Following the European Parliament’s environment committee (ENVI) vote on 1 March for a quick phaseout of F-gas refrigerants, final negotiations are set to take place at next week’s plenary sitting.
Expanding the use of heat pumps is key to reducing Europe’s dependence and moving away from fossil fuels. F-gas are instrumental to the functioning of heat pumps. With the proposed bans, the almost 30 thousands different models of equipment currently present on the European market, would have to suddenly rely on natural refrigerant alternatives. Which involves “the adaptation of production processes, but also the training of installers, as well as considerations on the safety and overall energy efficiency of these solutions, with an impact on the affordability of products,” said Paolo Falcioni, APPLiA Director General. While the ENVI Committee recognised that REPowerEU’s heat pumps deployment targets might be at stake, shifting responsibility to the EU Commission to assess heat pump needs on a yearly basis, cannot be a “conclusive solution.” A stable and reliable legislative framework is needed to allow for medium and long-term planning.
Today, the industry is already using alternative refrigerants for some applications, as part of its broader efforts and overarching commitment to offering solutions that can mitigate climate change and reduce carbon emissions. However, a full-fledged ban on F-gas would not be technically feasible for all applications as “it would leave the market with no possibility to meet consumers’ demand for renewables,” explained Falcioni. A diversity of fluorinated and non-fluorinated solutions is needed to fit the wide variety of applications for both the EU and export markets. The sector is already investing in cleaner technologies using lower Global Warming Potential (GWP) refrigerants and designing highly energy-efficient products that are good for the environment and for the wallet. Developing new products using new solutions requires finding real alternatives, striking a fair and secure balance for all.
Introduced in January 2015, the F-Gas Regulation intended to reduce EU’s F-gas emissions by two-thirds by 2030, compared to 2014 levels. In April 2022, the European Commission presented a proposal to update the original Regulation, announcing the key goal for Europe to introduce a further phase-down as from 2024 and a full-fledged ban on F-gas, as from 2027. The report undertaken by the European Parliament’s ENVI Committee is scheduled to be adopted during the 29-30 March 2023 plenary sitting and will constitute a negotiating position with EU governments on the final shape of the legislation.