The needs of renewable heat are greater than the needs of renewable electricity
Renewable sources of energy known to the general public are essentially the hydro, wind and photovoltaic energies. These are all sources of electrical power. However, in the future, a majority of our renewable energy will be provided for heating uses. For instance, the “Program of the energy infrastructures of France” of the Minister of Environnement provides that 60% of the renewable energy in 2020 in France will be heat (thermal energy). In particular, biomass and geothermal energy for heat production (target markets of Kyotherm) represent three times more kWh than wind and solar energy combined. Below is a summary of the public goals for France :
A. Heat production by sector in 2020
- Biomass: 15 million tonnes of oil equivalent (toe)
- Geothermal Energy: 2.3 million toe
- Solar: 0.9 million toe
- Waste to energy: 0.9 million toe
- Biogas: 0.6 million toe
For a total of 19.7 million toe (compared to 9.7 million in 2006)
B. Electricity production by sector in France in 2020:
- Hydro: 5.4 million tonnes of oil equivalent
- Onshore Wind: 3.6 million toe
- Offshore Wind: 1.4 million toe
- Biomass: 1.4 million toe
- Solar photovoltaics: 0.5 million toe
- Other (geothermal, ocean energy …): 0.1 million toe
For a total of 12.5 million toe (compared to 5.6 million in 2006)
The heating market is the largest energy consumption sector in Europe. It must adapt to new regulations
More than 40 percent of the final energy used in Europe is consumed in the building sector (43 % in France). Around 85 percent of this energy is required for heating and domestic hot water. It is, with the transport sector, the first sector in terms of emissions of greenhouse gases. Below is the distribution of energy consumption in Europe:
The European Commission, as well as national governments have realized that, by far, the maximum potential for energy-saving and CO2 reduction lies in the building sector. Public policies in Europe have long focused on the production of renewable electricity, while electricity represents only 15 % – a small share – of our energy consumption. The heat market, the main sector of energy consumption in buildings, is the main area to fight climate change and curb the emissions of greenhouse gases. It is also a powerful driver to lower the energy bills of households.
The new Thermal Regulations
New thermal regulations are coming into effect in Europe to curb greenhouses gas emissions in the building sector. In France, the new standard “RT 2012” came into effect on October 28, 2011 for offices and on January 1, 2013 for homes. All new buildings must comply with a maximum consumption of 50 KWh/m2/year, against an average consumption of 400 KWh/m2/year for existing buildings. The use of renewable energy can reduce this constraint. The “RT 2015” and “RT 2020” standards, in preparation, will be even more demanding : the “RT 2015” requires a maximum consumption of 30 KWh/m2/year, and the “RT 2020” is aiming at the construction of positive energy buildings. To achieve these objectives, the use of renewable thermal energy is necessary.
Efforts to fight climate change will intensify in the future
The emissions of carbon dioxide have continuously increased since the beginning of the industrial era. The Stern report estimates the cost of climate change to 5% of the GDP without action (up to 20% of GDP in some cases), whereas it would cost just 1% of the GDP to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases emissions through actions, including appropriate investments.
States are required under the Kyoto agreements (the name “Kyotherm” comes from “Kyoto”) to implement policies to curb emissions of greenhouse gas emissions, including the promotion of renewable energy. The European Union has set a goal of reaching 20% of renewable energy by 2020. The objective for France is 23% (against 13% today). This objective is consistent with that of limiting CO2 concentrations at 450 ppm, which would limit global warming to +2 ° C by the end of the century. Following are measures of the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere:
CO2 emissions in 2010 were up 5% compared with 2008, which led the International Energy Agency to say that the goal of 450 ppm CO2 concentration was out of reach. It predicts a warming of between + 3 ° C and + 4 ° C by the end of the century, which is unacceptable since the sea level would rise eventually of more than 25 m. Future efforts will have to be much greater than current efforts.
Energy imports, mainly of fossil fuels, represent a growing cost to our economy
Besides the global warming problem, that of the rising price of energy is also a factor in the choice of renewable energy. The Barrel of Brent crude oil, worth $ 10 in 1999, reached $ 128 in April 2011 and more than € 90 many times since then.
The value of imports of fossil energy represents almost 90% of the trade deficit in France. The price of domestic fuel (energy source most used in France today for home heating) is about 10 c€ / kWh, while wood is about 3-5 c € / kWh. Therefore, by making today the choice of renewable energy, we can preserve the economic balance of our countries, develop the use of local energy sources and create local well-paying jobs.