European Commission adopts new calculation methodology for renewable cooling
The European Commission has adopted a new calculation methodology in which the renewable share of cooling depends on energy performance. This should serve as an incentive for the deployment of innovative technologies that both reduce energy consumption and increase the use of renewable sources for cooling.
In December 2021, the European Commission published a new methodology for calculating the amount of renewable cooling and district cooling that can be counted towards EU renewable energy targets. Cooling accounts for 5 - 20% of final energy consumption in some EU countries. Therefore, the adoption of a renewable cooling calculation methodology was a topical and pressing issue for the EU and its Member States. Under Article 7(3) of the 2018 Renewable Energy Directive, the Commission was obliged to adopt a renewable cooling methodology by the end of 2021.
The new calculation methodology fills a gap in the current legislation, since the renewable cooling contribution to renewables could not so far be calculated in practice, even though it was in principle covered by the Renewable Energy Directive since 2009. The EU methodology is the first calculation method of its kind introduced worldwide.
In practice, the new methodology introduces a progressive system in which the renewable share of cooling depends on its energy performance. It sets two thresholds: cooling from systems at or above the upper threshold will be recognised as renewable, whereas cooling systems below the lower threshold will not. Cooling systems between the two thresholds will be able to credit a linearly increasing amount of cooling as renewable energy, as their efficiency approaches the upper threshold.
This methodology will reward technologies such as highly efficient reversible heat pumps and free cooling through district cooling networks. It also incentivises the deployment of innovative cooling technologies, such as solar cooling, that both reduce energy consumption and increase the use of renewable sources for cooling.
Details of the methodology are available here. The methodology will now undergo a two-month review by the European Parliament and the Council before entering effectively into force after publication in the Official Journal of the European Union.