09 Jun 2022, 13:25
Kerstine Appunn

Geothermal heat pumps could cover 75% of Germany’s heating needs - report

Clean Energy Wire

Heat pumps are the best option for Germany to reach its climate targets in the buildings sector, researchers from the Fraunhofer Research Institution for Energy Infrastructures and Geothermal Systems IEG have found. Geothermal heat pumps have the potential to cover up to 75 percent of the heat demand for space heating and hot water in Germany. There are currently over 400,000 geothermal heat pumps installed in Germany, and around 20,000 new systems are added each year. To achieve the climate targets, there needs to be more than a tenfold increase by 2045, the researchers say. To make this possible, the authors suggest that state permit procedures for the drilling should be revised and standardised; the installation of new fossil fuel-based heat systems has to be banned as soon as possible; skilled workers have to be trained and, in the short-term, a shortage of 2,500 drilling rigs and 6,000 skilled workers has to be overcome.

While wind and solar installations are now providing almost half of Germany’s electricity need, only one fifth of heating energy comes from renewable sources. Heating is thus a great hurdle when it comes to reaching climate neutrality by 2045. Germany's households alone are responsible for about ten percent of total greenhouse gas emissions – most of which by far arise through the heating of rooms and water. But convincing households to switch heating system is far from straightforward in a maze of boilers, buildings, interdependent investment decisions and users.

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