NEWS • 02.11.2022

Decarbonisation “queen” crowned in Cordoba. II Heat Pump Forum: training and employment

II Heat Pump Forum, organised by AFEC and Iberdrola, fulfils the objective of giving visibility and context to current challenges and future opportunities of this technology.

Madrid, October 27, 2022. On 20 October, Cordoba hosted 2nd Heat Pump Forum, under “Opportunity for training and employment” slogan, organised by Air-Conditioning Equipment Manufacturers Association (AFEC) and Iberdrola, with AFAR collaboration (Andalusian Refrigeration Manufacturers Association) and CECO (Entrepreneurs Confederation of Cordoba). 

The forum was attended by a large experts group from different entities, from public administration and educational community, to technicians groups, installation companies or manufacturers, via specialists in the European heat pump field.

After local media “canutazo” (the fast press conferences version, in spontaneous and informal statements form) with institutional roundtable participants, they opened the day with a highlight,, unanimously, the importance of encouraging heat pumps use to combat climate change and accelerate energy transition. 

The speeches of Antonio Díaz Córdoba, CECO President; Aurelio García, AFAR vice-president; Agustín López, economy and energy delegate in Cordoba, Junta de Andalucía; Antonio Fernández González, IBERDROLA’s delegate in Andalusia; Francisco Perucho, AFEC President; and José María Bellido, Mayor of Cordoba, all pointed in the same direction: this technology is essential in decarbonisation roadmap of our society.

After today’s challenges vision and tomorrow’s opportunities, Emilia Pulido briefly reviewed activities and initiatives on vocational training and employment followed by the provincial secretariat of Andalusian Employment Service, to create new specialisations adapted to air-conditioning sector

To explain HEAT PUMP PROJECTION, the moderator, Marta San Román, AFEC managing director, included statements from organisations representatives provided a complementary and comprehensive perspective.

Dolores Huerta, Green Building Council Spain director, spoke from building sector point of view, whose main message, both locally and in Europe, is a comprehensive decarbonisation of buildings need, throughout their life cycle, from construction materials to their dismantling. He also pointed to refocus public-private investment need within European taxonomy regulation framework. In this speech, the heat pump becomes decarbonisation “princess”, as it is the most efficient active technology for air conditioning buildings, facilitates transition to renewable energies, its hybridisation capacity (mainly with solar thermal and geothermal) and is a current and competitive market solution. Dolores Huerta also reminded that air conditioning is not only heating or cooling buildings, but it is imperative to maintain indoor air quality through proper ventilation and without energy losses, and that safe refrigerants must be used.

Carlos García, from CTA (Andalusia Technological Confederation), brought us closer to collaborative aspect, with the European project “HP4All” (heat pumps for all), which seeks to design competences and professional recognition framework in installation segment and heat pumps maintenance, as well as to promote training actions to increase qualified professionals availability, a problem at European level, and to inform and raise awareness among users about heat pumps advantages. After first steps, HP4ALL is working to replicate the initiative at national and international level. He also stressed Andalusia importance in European heat pump manufacturing sector.

Financing topic came from IDAE with Carmen López Ocón, hydroelectric, geothermal and ambient energy department head, who put into context the NextGenerationEU grants for heat pump refurbishment. In addition, he presented recently approved More Energy Security Plan (+SE), with temporary quick-impact measures aimed at this winter, which mainly seeks to increase protection for vulnerable consumers, households and businesses, and to reinforce strategic and energy autonomy. +SE includes actions to, among others, facilitate renewable thermal technologies deployment (such as heat pumps), or to rapidly strengthen technicians and companies professional capacity in sector. The IDAE representative encouraged autonomous communities that have not yet exhausted the available funds, including Andalusia, to promote them more widely and recalled the tax benefits for aid granted for thermal renewables in the residential sector under RD 477/2021 and for works to improve energy efficiency. Finally, he crowned the “princess”, making heat pump the decarbonisation “queen”, as it contributes to all European energy strategies of improving energy efficiency, increasing renewables and reducing emissions.

Heat pump context in Europe was provided by Enric Vilamitjana, from the EHPA (European Heat Pump Association) board, highlighting that it is a mature technology, in a growing market, has European Union recognition and support, contributes to circular economy, generates long-term confidence and, if Europe manages to attract investment, would encourage European manufacturing expansion. He also reviewed European policies to reduce fossil fuels use in heating, and the need to create a catalytic heat pump scheme in Europe.

Mª Carmen González Muriano, Corporate Development Director, Markets and Customer Service at Airzone, offered manufacturers’ perspective on heat pump projection in digitalisation, regulation and control terms, as elements that enhance heat pump energy efficiency, highlighting all stakeholders need (air conditioning, regulation, architects, legislators, etc.) to work together to achieve sustainable development objectives.

Forum second part revolved around a round table debate about HEAT PUMPS as an employment dynamising vector, moderated by Manel Servián, AFAR’s manager, who began by sharing Lucena’s success story with the attendees, Cordoba town that hosts a strong business core of manufacturers related to air conditioning and refrigeration, which promote training promotion, both formal and informal, and new talent learning.

Representatives of the main groups involved in this topic gave a significant overview of sector professional needs and heat pump role as an accelerator for new professional positions creation.

Ludwig Wagner, CNI Board of Directors member, explained the need that exists in the market for technicians, as well as the importance of attracting young people to this sector, in order to ensure generational replacement, stressing that it is a growing sector, where competitive salaries are offered.

Ana Mª García Gascó, CONAIF managing director, explained why digital transformation of installation companies is necessary as a path to competitiveness, emphasising reskilling (retraining to take on different professional challenges) and upskilling (acquiring new skills).

Jorge Molina, ATECYR technical secretary, commented on this association strong commitment to training, aimed at training technicians and engineers, its extensive contribution to knowledge on decarbonisation, its collaboration with the public administration for the drafting of reports and its wide range of training and technical publications.

Yolanda García, CRN Managing Director in Moratalaz, discussed the role of the National Reference Centres, public centres that carry out innovation and experimentation actions in vocational training field, and professionalism certificates related to air conditioning sector.

Finally, Lucía Muñoz Moro, Climate Action and Analysis Head at Iberdrola, explained the international alliance between company and Unicef to support young people empowerment opportunities, training and employability at risk of social exclusion in green growth, derived from the energy transition and the fight against climate change

Experts speeches at this second Heat Pump Forum, which has once again become a point of reference for the sector, will soon be available through the organisers’ channels

Find here the evento pictures and we will send you presentations soon.

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