IEA: Policymakers must pay more attention to renewable heat

Policymakers must give more attention to renewable heat to help with the clean energy transition and meet emissions targets. That’s the view of Ute Collier, Senior Renewable Energy Analyst at […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha

Policymakers must give more attention to renewable heat to help with the clean energy transition and meet emissions targets.

That’s the view of Ute Collier, Senior Renewable Energy Analyst at the International Energy Agency (IEA), who believes many countries are focusing policies on renewable electricity but renewable heat is getting “much less attention”.

She said renewable heat has a “long way to go” to catch up with fossil fuels, which currently provide more than three quarters of heat production globally.

Ms Collier suggests technologies including bioenergy, solar thermal and geothermal represent a “massive opportunity” for emissions reductions as heat use accounts for more than 50% of total final usage.

She adds local utilities can be important drivers of change, with ambitious targets for renewable heat, for example, in Paris and Munich.

Some of the nations leading the way on the decarbonisation of heat supply are Sweden, where almost 70% of heat is supplied from renewables, followed by Denmark (50%) and Finland (40%).

Ms Collier said: “Regardless of what policy options are available, renewable heat deployment must accelerate to achieve a long term clean energy transition and meet global emissions reductions targets. This means policymakers need to pay more attention to heat, setting long term targets, taking an integrated approach with energy efficiency and crafting effective policies targeting key barriers.

“With the right strategy and policies, the world can get on track for a transition to clean heat for buildings and industry.”