Potentials and levels for the electrification of space heating in buildings (ElecHeat)

Climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time. Therefore, the EU is committed to decarbonising the energy sector, including heating and cooling (H&C) in buildings and industry, to arrive at a net-zero greenhouse gas emissions economy by 2050. 

This project aims to analyse the possible levels of electrification of heating, covering both direct electrification via renewable electricity and indirect electrification via hydrogen and e-fuels produced from renewable electricity. It proposes cost-effective levels of those in comparison with possible renewable alternatives. Moreover, the required legal and regulatory framework is examined. 

Heating and Cooling (H&C) is the single most important demand sector in Europe. It accounts for about 50% of the European total final energy consumption. At the same time, around 75% of H&C is still based on fossil fuels.

Electrification is often seen as one of the main solutions for the decarbonisation of H&C. In many studies, the future energy system is characterized by a strong coupling and integration of the electricity and the H&C sectors. The key objective of sector coupling is to find effective ways to reach the EU emission targets at low costs and on time. The opportunities of using existing infrastructures and providing energy for different end-uses very efficiently are seen as major merits of sector coupling.







To contribute to the decarbonisation of the energy system, this project analyses the effects of electrification of space and water heating in buildings. The objective of the project is to analyse the possible levels of electrification of heating and its impact on the related demand for renewable electricity production, hydrogen production and electrolyser capacities, synthetic e-fuels, grid infrastructures, building upgrades and changes in heating equipment. The project covers both direct electrification via direct use of renewable electricity for heating and indirect electrification via hydrogen and e-fuels produced from renewable electricity. By way of quantitative modelling of scenarios, the project aims to propose cost-effective levels of different mixed ways of electrification of space and water heating. Moreover, this project discusses needed changes in the legal and regulatory framework to achieve the targets set by the EU.

As a project partner, Fraunhofer ISI focuses on the modelling of the electricity and district heating sector with the energy system model Enertile. Furthermore, Fraunhofer ISI works on the policy recommendations for the legal and regulatory framework required for the realisation of the cost-effective scenario.


The objectives and foreseen results of the project are listed and described in the following:

  • Establish model-based scenarios of the space and water heating sector up to 2050 allowing an assessment of these scenarios in terms of costs, investment needs, infrastructure requirements, primary energy use, benefits regarding greenhouse gas reduction and energy savings. The starting point is the establishment of a baseline. This is followed by a series of technology-focused decarbonisation scenarios for the cases of (1) direct electrification of heating, (2) indirect electrification of heating through renewable hydrogen and (3) indirect electrification of heating through the supply of heating from synthetic methane (e-gas) and synthetic e-liquids.
  • Compare the different technology-focused decarbonisation scenarios for renewable heat supply options with each other and develop a best-case (optimal) scenario.
  • Derive recommendations to remove barriers to and implement measures needed to realise the recommended cost-effective scenario.
  • Organise a stakeholder consultation workshop.
  • The results are foreseen to be published in 2023 in a final report.


from November 2020 to July 2022


  • European Commission, DG ENER


  • Consentec (project coordinator)
  • Technical University of Vienna
  • e-think energy research GmbH
  • REKK
  • Fraunhofer ISI