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29 October 2021

Only €70bn needed to make renewable heating affordable for EU homes

The vast majority of EU countries need to increase heat pump incentives to make the technology affordable, says the coalition EU Cool Products.

By Energy Monitor Staff

The EU is only €70bn ($81.2bn) worth of subsidies away from making renewable heat (heat pumps and solar thermal) affordable for all households, says a report from the environmental NGO coalition EU Cool Products. In comparison, total EU defence expenditure in 2019 stood at €186bn.

A 3D image of a house with thermal solar heating. (Photo by Costazzurra via

Only 17.3% of heating appliances in European homes are powered by electricity, via heat pumps. One of the main barriers to their adoption is their high upfront installation cost, the report says.

A total of 19 out of 27 EU member states do not allocate enough subsidies for families to overcome these costs, or disproportionately tax electricity, the report says.

For a middle-income family of four, only Austria, Cyprus, Finland, France, Italy, Malta, Portugal and Spain offered sufficient subsidies for heat pumps to ensure a payback time of eight years or less. Increasing total renewable heat subsidies by €70bn would enable all EU households to make the switch to renewable heating. This could be reduced to €20bn if a carbon tax of €100 a tonne was introduced.

The only impediment to mass renewable heat deployment is political will, the report adds, calling for a ban on the sale of gas boilers in the EU by 2025. The European Commission is so far opting for a gradual phase-out instead.

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