Interview with Mr. Bendt Bendtsen, MEP of Group of the European People’s Party
Mr. Bendt Bendtsen, Danish MEP of the Group of the European People’s Party is considered a thought leader for Decarb Heat 2017, a forum taking place in Brussels on 11-12 May 2017 . Below his views on the decarbonisation of the heating and cooling sector in Europe which are fully in line with the mandate of the conference:
What is your vision for decarbonising heating and cooling in Europe by 2050?
Decarbonisation of heating and cooling is a clear necessity to achieve a Europe less dependent on imports and more sustainable.
The decarbonisation efforts must be cost-effective and should activate all available tools and technologies – renovation of the existing building stock, minimising the consumption of fossil fuels, further integration of renewables in the energy mix and motivation of consumers play an active role. Clearly, the heating and cooling sector is essential in this respect to achieve the European targets for decarbonisation. We spend too high a degree of fossil fuels in this sector, which is particularly unfortunate when we import half of it and thereby make Europe dependent on Russia and the Middle East.
What is your contribution to this vision as Member of the European Parliament, but also as individual?
As an individual, I integrated several renewable sources in my own household – geothermal, heat pump and solar thermal. I believe in leading by example. In my capacity of MEP, I am rapporteur of the revision of the Directive for energy performance of buildings, EPBD. It is my responsibility and aim that we can achieve a broad compromise behind an ambitious EPBD, where we stimulate both public and private financing into energy renovations so we can make the European building stock much more efficient – to the benefit of consumer, competitiveness and growth in Europe.
Who do you think is the strongest ally in making your vision of a decarbonised Europe a reality?
I think we have a broad and strong support for these efforts – from the heads of state and government to the European industries and consumers. Currently, low coal prices and a fragmented legal framework challenge us, makes it cheap to pollute, and lacks sufficient incentives to decarbonise. Once the framework is set, I truly believe we will see that the ones who achieve decarbonisation first, are the global winners. Not just in terms of sustainability, but also in terms of competitiveness and independence.