Key actor throughout the process
Advocacy at EU level
I played a key role in bringing renewable heating and cooling (RES-H) to the EU policy agenda, and finally integrating this field into EU legislation.
When I took over my position at ESTIF, solar heating and in general renewable heating and cooling were politically neglected sectors. EU and most national legislation on renewables focused only on electricity and transport. To change this, I initiated a strategy to create a coalition to put RES-H on the agenda. A first joint statement in 2004 was signed by a small group of industry associations and NGOs. One year later, a much larger group of 38 organisations supported the Joint Declaration for a European Directive to promote renewable heating and cooling. The European Commission hesitated to take on this issue. However, our cause found broad political support: an overwhelming majority of the European Parliament adopted in 2006 an Initiative Report with recommendations to the Commission on heating and cooling from renewable sources of energy. Building upon this strong political support, it was then possible to achieve sufficient consensus among the governments of the then EU 27. The adoption of the EU Renewables Directive 2009/28/EG set the seal on the full integration of RES-H into the EU policy framework and legislation. Thanks to this, the conditions for the deployment of renewable heating and cooling have improved across Europe and beyond this continent.
This advocacy success was achieved with few financial resources, and in full compliance with the highest ethical standards. The strategy was based exclusively on sound arguments, well-prepared coalition building, and effective communication.