IEA: Cleaning up the heat sector key to cleaner air – and opportunity for geothermal

IEA: Cleaning up the heat sector key to cleaner air – and opportunity for geothermal IEA Chart on sources for heating worldwide (source: IEA/ 2018)
Alexander Richter 28 Jan 2018

In the context of climate change and push for less emissions, the heating sector is vastly neglected. The heating sector still depends to three-quarters on fossil fuels with corresponding emissions and air quality concerns. Therefore policy makers need to pay much more attention, with geothermal energy a clear option.

In a commentary published on the website of the International Energy Agency (IEA), it is looked at the importance of the heating sector in the context of climate change and in particular air quality.

That is why countries in the Northern hemisphere are looking into renewable energy options to replace the mostly fossil-fuel based heating sector.

Currently, fossil fuels provide more than 75% of heat production, globally – as a study by IEA shows. The result is that the heating sector accounts for significant Co2 emissions.

In the commentary, IEA describes “renewable heat options, including bioenergy, solar thermal and geothermal are significantly more sustainable options then fossil fuels, yet they encounter multiple economic and non-economic barriers. While many countries are focusing policies on renewable electricity, renewable heat is getting much less attention.”


Therefore, the article describes policy as a crucial tool to push for more renewable energy deployment in the heating sector.

“Policy makers need to pay more attention to heat, setting long-term targets, taking an integrated approach with energy efficiency, and crafting effective policies targeting key barriers. With the right strategy and policies, the world can get on track for a transition to clean heat for buildings and industry.”, so the commentary.

Geothermal energy can play a significant role in those efforts, and countries such as China and Poland are already pushing geothermal development for their heat supply in efforts to improve air quality by replacing fossil fuel based heating.

Source: IEA