Climate-friendly heating transition must not lead to spike in rents – SPD head
The leader of Germany’s Social Democrats (SPD) said it was the party's imperative to prevent sharp cost increases for tenants during the shift to climate-friendly heating systems. "We will not only protect owners but also tenants from excessive burdens," Saskia Esken told Stuttgarter Zeitung. "The necessary costs of investments in heating systems must not simply be passed on via the rent payments," she said, adding that the heating transition must not result in people being "evicted from their homes." She called for the introduction of subsidies based on means-tested incomes. "We do not want to and we will not protect millionaires who have to install a heat pump,” Esken said, adding that subsidies would have to be taxed.
The building sector has remained a blind spot of Germany’s energy transition, but the country is currently debating plans for reducing its massive heating emissions. According to the current proposal agreed by the government, only heating systems that run on at least 65 percent renewable energy can be newly installed from the start of next year. The government is aiming to connect 500,000 heat pumps to the grid every year from 2024 onwards, with a total of six million set to be installed by 2030. But heat pumps are around twice as expensive to install as a conventional gas boiler, resulting in a controversial debate about how to distribute the extra costs. Given fierce resistance against the draft law from within the government coalition and from the opposition, it is set to be amended in the parliamentary process.