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Housing decarbonisation, local heating and cooling plans

About the Thematic Area

The European Union has set very ambitious energy and climate goals, including the decarbonization of the building stock by 2050. For achieving these goals Member States are obliged to develop and submit National Energy and Climate Integrated Plans (NECPS) and Long-Term Renovation Strategies for improving the energy efficiency and retrofitting of the building stock. The recently adopted Energy Efficiency Directive (EED) also foresees for cities of minimum 45,000 inhabitants to develop local cooling and heating plans. Adding to this, the Renewable Energy Directive (RED) also include a mandatory percentage of renewable energy in these local heating and cooling plans.

This partnership proposes to address decarbonisation of building through a strategic integrated approach, going beyond individual buildings and encouraging the district/neighbourhood approach and make full use of the provisions in the revised directives. Local heating and cooling plans are among the important steps towards decarbonisation of buildings. This approach could be linked with development of district heating, the development of energy communities and energy sharing and explore the possibilities of the Electricity Market Design reform. To put these objectives in practice, it is important to develop strategies and plans at the local level.

Ex-Ante Assessment

Before the Thematic Partnership is ready to take off, it is important to explore the theme and define the scope of the partnership. What exists and what has been done already on these themes? What are the challenges and the opportunities? This is done through an Ex-Ante Assessment (EAA), an evidence-based research report, written by external experts on each of the topics. Once the experts have written the report, it must be officially endorsed by the Directors General Meeting on Urban Matters (DGUM). The DGUM will take place in June 2024 and gathers representatives from the European Commission, Member States, the Belgian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, and relevant urban networks and umbrella organisations.

Call for Thematic Partnerships

Once endorsed the European Urban Initiative on behalf of the European Commission will launch the call for Thematic Partnership partners. It is foreseen that the call will be open from August to October, leaving interested partners enough time to apply after the summer period. Once the call is closed, the applications are carefully assessed by the EAA experts taking into consideration the diversity of stakeholders, the geographical location in Europe and the variety of size of urban authorities. Once approved by the DGUM in the autumn of 2024, the Thematic Partnerships on Water Sensitive City and Housing Decarbonisation, Heating and Cooling Local Plans will be launched and ready to kick-off in early 2025.