The European Commission is expected to publish today its ‘Fit for 55’ package. Composed of 12 legislative proposals, the package may bring along profound changes for the EU’s energy systems and other sectors.
Can ‘Fit for 55’ be a true game-changer for the environment? Yes, but for this to happen the proposals need to tackle a number of crucial issues (a full version of this briefing can be found here), including:
• Heating: ‘Fit for 55’ should support direct and renewable electrification of heating. The EPBD should prevent the installation of fossil-fuel operated heating systems in new buildings, and in existing buildings when a heating system is replaced.
The EU Energy Label for space heaters should support the fossil fuel phase-out to be delivered by ecodesign policies, which should ban the sale of new fossil-fuel boilers as of 2025. The Energy Label should be revised as to set very ambitious thresholds. This ambitious label could then be used to indicate whether a building can be dubbed as ‘Zero Emission’.
• Hydrogen: It must come from renewable energy sources and be used wisely in hard-to-abate sectors only, such as heavy industry, aviation and maritime transport. The Renewable Energy Directive (RED3) should only include references to hydrogen from renewable sources and offer a certification scheme that is clear, transparent and coherent with the objective of the directive.
To make sure we know the origin of our hydrogen, we need a more robust certification system for renewable energy sources, improving the current system of Guarantees of Origin.
• Electric vehicles and smart charging: The Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Directive (AFID) should set a clear framework for public charging infrastructure across the EU, and make sure that smart charging is widely rolled out as soon as the appropriate standards allow.
Most charging will be done at home and at work, so the Commission needs to make sure that all buildings are pre-equipped to allow for the installation of EV or e-bike chargers by 2035, strengthening the charging requirements of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD).
Justin Wilkes, Executive Director at ECOS – Environmental Coalition on Standards, said:
‘The Fit for 55 package has the potential to deliver ambitious policies to enable a true transformation for many sectors, with energy, transport and heating being key. But this transition needs to be grounded in robust regulations, closing the backdoor to fossil fuels, while giving incentives to people so they choose zero-emission transport and dwellings. Cosmetic change will not cut emissions – only future-proof rules will’.