EU stops short of gas boiler ban

  • Market: Electricity, Natural gas, Oil products
  • 15/12/21

The European Commission today stopped short of banning gas boilers from 2030 in an update to the bloc's energy performance directive for buildings.

But the amended directive states that member states should only be allowed to subsidise new "fossil fuel" boilers until the end of 2026.

"We don't have the competence," commission vice-president Frans Timmermans said, referring to the possibility of an EU-level ban. "Circumstances are different between member states", he said. Timmermans oversees legislative work implementing the EU's targeted 55pc cut in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2030, compared with 1990 levels.

By increasing renovation rates and requiring new buildings from 2030 to install zero-emission heating systems, the revised directive aims to help member states reach a 49pc renewables share by 2030, set in the revised renewables directive.

The commission indicates that the buildings proposal will push up renovation rates, thereby supporting replacement of inefficient fossil fuel boilers by systems with no direct GHG emissions, such as heat pumps and other renewable technologies. The 15pc of buildings with the EU's lowest energy performance standards would have to be upgraded, with a deadline of 2027 for non-residential buildings and 2030 for residential buildings.

The commission's proposal, if adopted by EU member states and the European Parliament, would require new buildings to create no carbon emissions on site from 2030, with an earlier deadline of 2027 for new public buildings.

The revised buildings directive does not mandate an EU-level phase-out date for fossil fuel boilers, but it does introduce a legal basis for national bans. The provisions attempt to address legal uncertainty as to whether fossil fuel boiler bans would be permitted under EU competition rules and law. Member states could now set requirements for heating equipment based on GHG emissions or the type of fuel used, the commission said.

The revised directive would also require member states to draw up national building plans that include roadmaps for "phasing out fossil fuels in heating and cooling by 2040 at the latest". And EU states would need to come up with a "pathway" to transform national building stocks into zero-emission buildings by 2050.


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