04 Jul 2022, 14:20
Benjamin Wehrmann

Efficiency “paradigm shift” needed in German heating – state foundation

Clean Energy Wire

The German heating sector must be reformed from its core and made more efficient to weather the energy supply challenges ahead, the state-funded Federal Environmental Foundation (DBU) has said. “Russia’s attack on Ukraine has dramatically worsened the situation,” the DBU said, calling for a “paradigm shift” in the heating sector. This includes a rigorous move away from fossil fuels towards renewable power, as well as energy saving and efficiency. “All this has a huge potential. We have to tap into this wealth of energy,” DBU secretary general Alexander Bonde said. Renewables currently provide about 19 percent of Germany’s total demand of 2,277 terawatt hours (TWh) for electricity, heating and transport. “We have to pull together to bring this share up,” Bonde said, both to reduce the dependence on fossil fuels and make progress on emissions reduction. “Enormous saving potentials” in the industry and buildings sector could help to reduce total demand, thus allowing for a faster growth of the renewable power share. Smart grids that coordinate electricity consumption and generation would be one way to make use more efficient, he argued, but also huge reduction potentials in often overlooked areas like coffee roasting should be exploited more.

Germany’s heating sector has to undergo profound changes to meet the government’s decarbonisation target. More than 80 percent of the heat supply is still based on fossil fuels, a figure that has hardly changed in the last decade. In 2019, space heating, process heat and hot water accounted for more than half of total energy consumption.  

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