While great efforts are put in emission reduction from the centralized generation of power and heat, individual heating systems in Northern Europe do still have a very high fossil share. The modelling results shows that the most cost-effective solution for emissions reductions in individual heating systems includes large scale electrification with heat pumps. In addition, the study finds that hybrid electric heating solutions, such as heat pump hybrid gas boilers, are important heating technologies for the decarbonization.
Although heat pumps are energy effective, such a transition would require additional renewable power capacity in large amounts. In our modelled scenarios, the 2050 installed capacities of wind an solar PV increases 4-5 times from 2020 levels. About 30% of this increase is due to electrification of individual heating systems. The seasonality of heat demand will pose great challenges to the power system at deep heating sector decarbonization levels, which also imply increased need for seasonal storage technologies, power-to-X applications and transmission expansions between the Nordic and West European countries.