Environment & Climate Action
The use of district energy leads to significant emissions reduction and ensures the transition to renewable energy and low-carbon technologies for heating and cooling.
A number of current EU policies ensure the reduction of environmental impact and trigger modernisation of existing district heating and cooling networks.
The EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) covers district heating installations, whereas individual boilers do not fall under the scope of the current rules. We believe that a revised ETS must help foster the development of efficient district heating networks and, more generally, the evolution of the heating sector in line with the EU’s overall climate and energy ambitions. For example, a mechanism designed to expose individual (non-ETS) boilers to a carbon price signal should be established.
The 2010 Directive on industrial emissions (IED) sets out the main principles for the permitting and control of installations based on an integrated approach and the application of best available techniques (BAT). The IED sets out special provisions for certain pollutant emissions from combustion plants with a total rated thermal input equal to or greater than 50 MW (large combustion plants), irrespective of the type of fuel used.
At the end of 2015, a new Directive on Medium Combustion Plants (MCP) was adopted, limiting the emissions certain pollutants (sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and dust) from plants with a rated thermal input equal to or greater than 1 MWth and less than 50 MWth. These new rules are part of the clean air legislative package. The emission limit values set in the MCP Directive will apply from 20 December 2018 for new plants and by 2025 or 2030 for existing plants, depending on their size. The flexibility provisions for district heating plants and biomass firing will ensure that climate and air quality policies are consistent and their synergies are maximised.