Last December, the European Commission (EC) released new criteria for calculating the amount of renewable cooling and district cooling that can be used to meet the EU's renewable energy targets.
This delegated act defines how cooling can count against an EU member state's overall renewables target and how it contributes to the Renewable Energy Directive’s sectoral targets on heating and cooling.
According to a statement from the European Commission, despite being covered by the Renewable Energy Directive since 2009, the renewable cooling contribution to renewable could not actually be calculated in practice. The new calculation methodology will thus fill a gap in current legislation. The EC added that the European approach will be the “the first such calculation method introduced anywhere in the world.”
The delegated act has been under review by the European Parliament and the European Council, which will take approximately two months. If these institutions approve the act, it will take effect after it is published in the Official Journal of the European Union.
The act evaluates renewable cooling systems based on their energy performance, linking the seasonal performance factors (SPFs) used in the EU Ecodesign Directive. The regulation, according to the EC, sets two efficiency thresholds: cooling systems that perform below the lower threshold do not qualify as renewable cooling, while those that perform above the upper threshold do. As the efficiency of cooling systems between the two thresholds approaches the higher threshold, they will be able to credit a linearly increasing amount of cooling as renewable energy.
The new guidelines aim to encourage energy-efficiency technology like efficient reversible heat pumps and district cooling networks, recognizing their importance in meeting renewable energy targets in the heating, cooling, and district heating and cooling sectors.
The Renewable Energy Directive encourages European member states to use renewable energy sources. Its goal is to shape the future of HVAC&R. The currently under discussion modification of the regulation calls for “at least 40% of renewable energy sources coming into the European grid by 2030,” a significant increase from the existing contribution of around 20%.
The European Commission's efficient cooling standards emphasize the importance of taking cooling into account in the fight against global warming. Besides, the EC notes that cooling is progressively becoming a heavy energy-consuming sector. The European Commission estimates that the sector consumes between 5% and 20% of total energy in several European nations.
Since cooling is an increasingly energy-intensive sector, adopting energy-efficient cooling system is projected to help meet the “Fit for 55” legislation package's 2030 goals as well as the European Green Deal's 2050 climate neutrality framework.