AREA - the European association of refrigeration, air conditioning and heat pump (RACHP) contractors welcomes the proposal for a Net Zero Industry Act and the European Commission’s commitment to accelerating the decarbonisation of the EU’s economy through the deployment of clean and low-carbon energy technologies.

In this context, new measures to ensure that there is a skilled workforce supporting the production of heat pumps in the EU will be key.  However, we also stress that the installation and maintenance of the systems by trained and certified contractors will be of equal importance.

Proper system design and effective installation, as well as regular maintenance and servicing, are of utmost importance to ensure that expected energy savings become a reality. With hundreds of thousands of technicians needing to be upskilled to safely handle flammable refrigerants, the installer base will just not manage to make the conversion in time in view of the REPowerEU objective of doubling the deployment of heat pumps. The shortage of both training facilities and trainers across the EU remains a huge issue.

Therefore, we are thrilled to see the recognition of the need to increase the availability of a skilled workforce, both in terms of numbers and level of education and training. In particular, AREA welcomes the creation of Net-Zero Industry Academies and the Net-Zero Europe Platform.

Lastly, in light of the shortage of people with interest in the RACHP sector, we believe that it is crucial to act on the expressed commitment to facilitate policies to attract new talent. This applies not only in the EU but also to third countries, making it necessary to enhance their level of training and professional certificates, and in turn their recognition in the EU.