Publications / Research Papers
The development of renewable heating and cooling in the Danube Regionpolicy briefPublished: 12 of April, 2021
  • Renewables in the heating and cooling (H&C) sector account for a very significant part of overall RES consumption in the DR even though the sector does not have near the level of applied support schemes and policies as sectors like power and transport.
  • Most of the DR countries plan to increase RES-H&C until 2030 which will continue to be underpinned by strong dependency on biomass.
  • Although geothermal energy has strong potential to contribute to decarbonisation goals and reduce fossil fuel import dependency in the heating sector, it receives little attention in DR national strategic documents.
  • Despite ambitions to radically reduce national GHG emissions, the huge potential of the LULUCF sector to cheaply sequester and store carbon is not seriously targeted by DR climate policy measures, evidenced by the projected drop in net sequestration from 68 million tons of CO2eq in 2018 to 20 million tons CO2eq by 2030.
  • Policy instruments should be redesigned to avoid erosion of natural sequestration caused by poor forest management by properly valuing its climate and economic role and striking a balance between biomass use as energy source and carbon sink.
  • Given all the legitimate concerns about use of biomass resources, the fact that its use in electricity wastes about half of the useful energy compared to heat should be reflected in policies.


This policy brief is part of a series based on the study National Energy and Climate Plans of the Danube Region commissioned by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Hungary in 2020. Other policy briefs cover the electricity (2021/04), natural gas (2021/05) and transport (2021/07).