10 Feb 2021, 12:58
Charlotte Nijhuis

City of Berlin aims to decarbonise district heating with new energy transition law


Berlin wants to become climate-neutral by 2050. To achieve this, climate senator Regine Günther (Green Party) proposed an amendment to the city’s Energy Transition Act (EWG) on 9 February, Margarethe Gallersdörfer writes in Tagesspiegel Online. The amendment requires district heating, which currently supplies three quarters of all Berlin households, to be produced completely from renewable sources by 2050, instead of hard coal which is mainly used for district heating now. By 2030, 30 percent of energy for district heating will have to come from renewable sources. Energy companies will need to present a roadmap for the decarbonisation by mid-2023, which is to be approved by a state regulatory authority for district heating, Tagesspiegel writes. In the transport sector, the public bus fleet is to be "as fossil-free as possible" by 2030, the senator said. Additionally, the energy use of public buildings is to be significantly reduced and solar cells are to be installed on every suitable roof. With the new law, "we as Berlin are expressly committing to the Paris Climate Agreement," Günther said. The law is to be passed before the end of the legislative period in autumn 2021. 

Earlier this year, the city passed Germany’s first pedestrian law, which elevates the status of pedestrians in regard to other modes of transport. The law is part of Berlin’s larger mobility legislation package. The city had dragged its heels on the energy transition for years, but the government has recently set new climate targets. Berlin wants to reduce its CO2-emissions by at least 65 percent by 2030 compared to 1990 and by 80 percent by 2040, on the way to climate-neutrality in 2050.

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