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Energy transition and digital revolution as drivers of a zero-carbon buildings

Buildings account for roughly 40 percent of energy consumption and 36 percent of emissions in the EU. In Finland, the numbers are 32 and 30 percent, respectively. Heating is the largest contributor to those numbers – in fact, in only on EU member state the demand for cooling surpasses that of heating: in Malta. The decarbonisation of buildings is a daunting task. Smart services coupled with energy storage can facilitate the massive take-up of renewable and huge energy savings needed for a successful green transition. Trailblazers like Vantaa Energy can pave the way for making these solutions mainstream.

New methods of storing energy, such as the planned Vantaa Energy’s Cavern Thermal Storage, are needed to balance supply and demand, and increase the use of waste heat. The European Parliament has emphasised that thermal storage and district heating are a very efficient tool for increased utilisation of renewables and waste heat. With seasonal storage systems, the excess heat produced in the summer can be stored for use in the cold winter days.

Digitalisation will drive the transition to a clean, efficient and smart energy system. Improvements in the processing and use of data offer a huge potential for reducing emissions. Better processing of data means smarter and automated solutions, which can benefit both producers and consumers. Smart energy services can help customers minimise their energy bills and also improve energy efficiency. Utility companies can use consumption data to optimise their transmission and production of energy. The needed energy can then be produced using the most cost-effective and climate-friendly sources of energy and, if necessary, stored efficiently.

The convergence of digital and energy policies is important in achieving the objectives of our common European Green Deal. For example, it will allow us to create synergies between district heating and cooling and data centres’ waste heat production. Society has to encourage research and innovation into new technologies that support the decarbonisation and digitalisation of energy systems.

The EU, UK, US and Japan, among others, are working towards climate-neutrality by 2050. Finland has decided to go even further– the goal is to be carbon-neutral already by 2035. Equally forward-looking utility companies such as Vantaa Energy are needed. Your actions show that old technologies will not be enough. I wish you good luck on your journey towards a fossil-free future!

Miapetra Kumpula-Natri

Miapetra Kumpula-Natri
Member of the European Parliament
ITRE Committee on Industry, Research and Energy