How much can change in a semester?

How much can change in a semester?

And here we are, it’s already Summer and one semester of 2022 is behind us.

This year started with a full agenda for the ongoing policy process related to the Fit for 55 Package, with another one added to the list: the energy price crisis. Little did we know at that stage that the energy price crisis would reach much bigger proportions with the invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces, in February 2022. The energy price crisis became a serious energy security (and overall security) crisis for Europe.

From Solar Heat Europe we have addressed this issue connecting the energy security crisis with the ongoing climate change crisis. Our main concern was to ensure that the measures put in place to address this problem were consistent with the needs for deploying renewable energy and decarbonising a critical sector such as heating and cooling.

The plans to develop a solar thermal roadmap and organise a high-level political event in Brussels in June had to be adapted to the pressing situation. In addition, our team had to cover new discussions on the solutions to address this crisis, while we were still contributing to ongoing processes such as the revision of the renewable energy directive or the development of the EU solar energy strategy.

Where are we now?

  • REPowerEU, the European Union strategy to reduce the dependency from Russian gas, includes measures that will be of paramount importance for the deployment of different renewable energy technologies, such as solar thermal. The most relevant measures for our sector are the “Solar Rooftop Initiative” and the measures on Permitting, including the so-called Go-to-areas. We invite you to read the briefing we have prepared for our members on these topics;
  • The European Commission launched the EU Solar Energy Strategy, indicating that our technology shall triple by 2030. This strategy also includes some of the measures for solar that are in the REPowerEU plan. This was recently discussed at the European Parliament. See article in this newsletter;
  • The Committee in the European Parliament dealing with energy (ITRE) approved their proposal for the revision of the Renewable Energy Directive, which includes stronger references to renewable heat, with the higher target (even though they propose this to be indicative), with clear references to heating cooling purchase agreements, and the uptake of renewables in industry and in district heating networks. In addition, they endorsed the European Commission proposal to increase the overall renewable targets to 45% by 2030. We must note that the process is not yet concluded, though this is an important milestone.
  • Solar Heat Europe launched the solar thermal roadmap: Energising Europe with Solar Heat during the High-Level event organised in Brussels on June 20th. This initiative, part of the 30th Anniversary celebration, was accompanied by a media campaign and we invite you to read the Op-Ed from our President Costas Travasaros, at one of the leading Brussels based media outlets, Euractiv. We also ask you to promote further the Solar Thermal Roadmap and the messages within.
  • We reported (exclusive to members) that the Solar Thermal market grew by 10% in 2021 (year-on-year sales) and that most of the European markets are expecting increases in 2022 and 2023.

This semester was a challenging one, but also a rewarding one for our team. And we enjoyed the opportunity to meet again or for the first time some of our members here in Brussels, after two and a half years. For us it is important to have this contact and to feel that we are not alone here in Brussels, that there is a large and dynamic sector pushing us forward.

The second semester of 2022 will be equally challenging. Our team will have a much-needed break and will return at the end of August, with replenished energies to continue this positive path and creating new opportunities for solar thermal.

Until then, we wish you all a great summer period.

Solar Heat Europe’s Team

Pedro Dias, Leopoldo Mico, Alexandra Sutu, Saverio Papa


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