2016 ‘year of delivery’ on EU energy policy
Maroš Šefčovič, a European Commission vice-president responsible for the Energy Union, declares that “2016 will be a year of delivery” on EU energy policy. Several key legislative dossiers are up for review this year, including targets for energy efficiency and renewable energy beyond 2020, as well as energy performance of buildings. Early on this year, the Commission plans to unveil a Heating and Cooling Strategy that will outline the framework for updating relevant EU legislation and possibly trigger new directives.
The implementation of the EU F-Gas Regulation is underway following its entry into force at the beginning of last year. As of 2016, the HFC phase-down mechanism requires reducing HFCs placed on the EU market by 7%.
A report from the European Environment Agency (EEA), published in December (see R744.com 18/12/15), revealed a 90% increase of bulk imports of fluorinated gases between 2013-2014 compared to the previous 12 months as companies sought to stockpile HFCs before the HFC phase-down takes effect. Given that HFCs contained in pre-charged equipment will be included in the phase-down as of 2017, companies are expected to intensify their efforts to move away from f-gases in these technologies during 2016.
Besides the EU F-Gas Regulation, the long-awaited Eco-design Regulation for commercial refrigeration should be finalised this year, setting EU-wide mandatory minimum efficiency requirements for the technology for the first time. This regulation has been long awaited by the refrigeration industry, points out Marek Zgliczynski from Embraco: “The EU Eco-design Regulation is in delay for the commercial refrigeration sector. It is a very important piece of legislation still missing, considering the importance of indirect emissions.”
Meanwhile, under EU legislation governing mobile air-conditioning systems (the so-called MAC Directive), the use of fluorinated greenhouse gases with a GWP higher than 150 in all new vehicles put on the EU market will be totally banned from 1 January 2017. New vehicles with MAC systems using these gases will not be registered, sold, or able to enter into service in the EU.
Austrian company Obrist told R744.com that they expect this to have a positive impact on the natural refrigerant industry in 2016.