Banning boilers: An analysis of existing regulations to phase out fossil fuel heating in the EU

In view of the current geopolitical situation, the EU and its Member States are accelerating efforts to reduce their dependency on fossil fuel imports, while simultaneously tackling the climate crisis. With heating in buildings accounting for a large share of the energy consumption in the EU, policies to phase-out fossil fuels for heating and to switch to renewables are key elements. In the context of the proposed actions to phase-out fossil fuels at EU level, this article provides a systematic analysis of current and planned phase-out regulations for fossil fuel boilers in the EU Member States. The paper quantifies the share of energy consumption for heating that is addressed by such regulations and finds that the current regulations only address about 10% of the total fossil energy consumption for heating in the EU. The share increases to almost 30% when considering the planned regulations, reflecting the fact that large energy consumers such as Germany and the Netherlands have announced such regulations. The analysis shows that several Member States with high energy consumption for heating have neither implemented nor announced plans to introduce phase-out regulations for fossil fuel heating. The study concludes that immediate policy action is needed both at EU and at Member State levels. At EU level, the proposed introduction of an end-date for stand-alone fossil fuel boilers needs to be substantiated and implemented into the legislative framework. At the national level, phase-out regulations for fossil fuel boilers need to be expanded both in quantity and scope.