The Recovery and Resiliency Facility Regulation will be a key instrument to identify and implement strategic projects to support EU’s transition to carbon neutrality by 2050. For the Resiliency and Recovery Plans to support a green transition lowest cost for citizens, businesses and society as a whole, they must prioritise energy efficiency, system integration and flexibility.

In order to deliver on the green recovery ambition, Recovery and Resiliency Plans should touch upon the following dimension

1. Take an integrated approach to energy systems, putting energy efficiency first

COGEN Europe recommends that the RRP considers the links between heat, power and gas systems, with a view to decarbonise the economy at lowest cost through energy efficiency and renewable energy uptake. The greening of existing infrastructure should be considered, including the repurposing of gas grids to increasingly distribute renewable gases.

2. Foster a resilient power system through efficient dispatchable generation

The increased electrification of the economy must be done efficiently and increasingly through renewable energy. Complementing direct electrification through efficient and dispatchable generation and demand response, including through high efficiency cogeneration connected to district heating or on industrial sites, will ensure security of supply to address mismatches between increasingly electrified demand and variable renewable energy supply.

3. Prioritise efficient and renewable heating and cooling in the green recovery plans

As part of the green investment’s objective under the EU Recovery and Resiliency facility, modernising heating and cooling presents an important opportunity to reduce carbon emissions, increase energy efficiency and foster smart energy uptake, all while bringing value in the local economy. To identify key heating and cooling projects for RRP, the national Comprehensive Assessments for Heating and Cooling should be fully considered[1].

4. Realise the potential of high efficiency cogeneration across Europe

High-efficiency cogeneration has multiple benefits in terms of efficiency of energy supply, transmission and distribution, flexibility and security of supply across integrated electricity, heat and gas systems. In the EU, high efficiency cogeneration already cuts today 250 million tons of CO2 CHP (equivalent to the emissions of 100 million petrol cars). Cogeneration is already supported as a key solution for greening industry, buildings and districts by key Member States[2]. Furthermore, cogeneration has an important growth potential for 2030[3] and is a no-regrets solution towards 2050[4]. Complementing demand side efficiency, direct electrification and the uptake of variable renewable energy, the efficient use of thermal energy through cogeneration (applied to all gases, hydrogen, biomass, geothermal energy, solar thermal) must be prioritised over the inefficient power-only and heat-only generation.

The RRPs should provide ambitious action plans to accelerate the uptake of energy efficiency and renewable energy across electricity heat and gas beyond 2026 to ensure investor certainty towards 2050. This should include concrete plans to deploy efficient solutions like cogeneration and district heating along with the greening of all energy carriers, including power and gas. Continued support and plans for further investment building on the RRP should be put forward, with a view to ensure industry can make long term commitments for a green transformation.

Prioritising energy efficiency, renewable energy and system integration as part of your country’s RRP will be key in delivering on the multiple objectives of the EU Green Deal, putting Europe on a cost-effective pathway to decarbonisation.

[2] See support schemes in Germany, Slovakia, Romania.
[3] CODE2, 2015. European Cogeneration Roadmap for 2030.
[4] Artelys, 2020. Towards an efficient, integrated and cost-effective net-zero energy system in 2050. The role of cogeneration

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