Die ECOHEATCOOL-Studie von Euroheat & Power untersucht mit Unterstützung der AGFW die Chancen der Fernwärme und –Kälte im europäischen Markt. Ein besonderes Augenmerk liegt auf den Kundenpotenzialen und der möglichen Primärenergieeinsparung. Ein erstes politisches Echo fand diese Studie bei der Fraktion der GRÜNEN im Europäischen Parlament. In einem Papier haben sie die Bedeutung der Fernwärme und der Kraft-Wärme-Kopplung für die europäische Versorgungssicherheit hervorgehoben:
Freeing natural gas sources by measures which do not create new additional risks. The biggest user of gas is the building sector (heating of houses). The reduction of gas needs in this sector can be achieve by accelerating the market penetration of existing technologies in the field of insulation of buildings and by promoting the use of combined electricity and heating technology (cogeneration). A new innovative approach could also be to evaluate the potential in Europe to produce gas from biomass (using waste from certain industries like the agroalimentary industries, forest industry and by using energy plants). The actual discussions around the biomass action plan already anticipated this move proposing the use of gas from biomass for 15% to 20% of current EU gas use. This is also a good policy option for Poland with its large agricultural sector and desperately seeking new revenues after the changes in the Community Agriculture Policy.
Even if all potential risks of nuclear energy were to be ignored (nuclear accident risk, terrorist threat, proliferation risk, new geopolitical dependencies on imports) which they should not, the potential for nuclear to solve a hypothetical gas security problem are minor compared to other potential solutions:
- the part of gas consumption going to electricity consumption is much smaller (105 Mtep in 2003) compared to the use of gas in industry and housing (262 Mtep in 2003).
- the potential to reduce gas consumption in Europe in the industrial and housing sector is huge, above all in the building sector. Investing in an acceleration of the renovation of the EU building stock is not only without other collateral risk but has a large gas saving potential and the opportunity to create many economic opportunities (creation of 500.000 jobs per year as estimated by Ecofys in a study delivered in 2005 for EURIMA).
- another area which the EU should engage in to enhance its energy security is the combined production of power and heat. 75% of all EU citizens are living in cities where the density is high enough to justify, on energetic and economic terms, the building of communal heating systems. The efficiency gains of these systems is further enhanced by the fact that they can be fuelled by diverse fuels (gas, biomass, geothermal) which is an importance security consideration with the possibility to switch in emergency situations to other fuels (oil, coal).
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