13 Dec 2019, 13:11
Freja Eriksen

Fossil fuel use for heating German homes rises as govt delays action

Clean Energy Wire

Consumption of oil and natural gas for heating Germany's residential buildings rose by 1.1 and 1.5 percent respectively in 2018 compared to the year before, when adjusted for weather conditions, shows a study by energy provider Techem. The total energy consumption for room heating in residential buildings also increased in 2018. A past downward trend followed by some years of stagnation has thus reversed into a "significant increase", said Nicolai Kuß, director of Techem. "Consumption of natural gas has not been this high since 2011, consumption of oil not since 2009. We urgently need to do something to make buildings more energy-efficient and require less heat," he added. 
A deal on new tax incentives for energy-efficient building modernisation in Germany has, however, recently been delayed as a mediation committee of the German parliament (Bundestag) and the federal council of states (the Bundesrat) failed to agree on measures. Environmental Action Germany (DUHcriticised the postponement until 18 December as continuing ten years of stalemate in the area. DUH also called on the committee to change a draft regulation that would provide tax incentives for the installation of gas-fired boilers that can be combined with a renewable energy source within two years – making them "renewables ready". The proposal would lead to a dead end for the energy transition in heating, said Sascha Müller-Kraenner, head of DUH.

The buildings sector is responsible for 14 percent of Germany's total emissions in 2018, which translated into 120 million tonnes of CO2 in that year. Germany has aimed for the building sector's final energy use to fall by 20 percent by 2020 compared to 2008, but by 2017 it had only decreased by 6.9 percent.

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