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Fast heat pump roll-out will unlock big socio-economic and climate benefits

| 26.04.2023

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine and unprecedented energy price hikes, Europe has known more than ever that it needs to wean itself off expensive, polluting and volatile fossil fuels.

Europe’s buildings are big gas customers accounting for 40% of the EU’s energy demand and emitting 36% of the EU’s energy-related greenhouse gas emissions. That is because there are still over 90 million gas and oil boilers in our buildings with a new one being installed every eight seconds.

When the European Commission launched the REPowerEU plan in response to the Russian war on Ukraine, it included targets to install 30 million more hydronic heat pumps in buildings to cut Russian gas imports. It has been estimated that this means about 60 million more heat pumps when all types are factored in. If these targets become reality by 2030, Europe stands to gain significant economy-wide benefits.

Europe’s leap to heat pumps – the socio-economic and climate benefits unlocked by a fast heat pump roll-out, is a summary report by the European Heat Pump Association and the European Climate Foundation, based on a study by Cambridge Econometrics. It finds that if REPowerEU’s vision is achieved by 2030, the EU can cut its gas import bill, see cheaper energy prices for consumers, raise its GDP and save on climate-harming emissions.

leap to heat pumps report graphic exports cover illustration

Key findings

  • A fast heat pump roll-out will make Europe less dependent on foreign energy imports by reducing the EU’s gas demand in buildings by 40% by 2030 compared to 2022.
  • That will allow the EU to reduce its energy import bill by €60 billion between now and 2030.
  • More heat pumps and energy renovations will protect consumers from energy price shocks and lift people out of energy poverty by cutting average heating bills by 20% by 2030, compared to a business-as-usual scenario. This is because heat pumps are on average 30% cheaper to run than gas boilers over their lifetime.
  • CO2 emissions from EU residential buildings can be lowered by 46% between 2022 and 2030 if heat pumps are deployed in line with REPowerEU’s ambition.
  • Because heat pumps do not emit pollutants at the point of use, a fast roll-out would reduce NOx emissions from household heating by almost 40% by 2030 compared to 2022.
  • A heat pump roll-out can also increase the disposable income of households by at least 2%, lead to a 2.5% growth in annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and create 3 million net additional jobs by 2030, compared to a business-as-usual scenario.