04 Sep 2023, 13:25
Sören Amelang

German parliament to greenlight controversial heating law on Friday

Clean Energy Wire / Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

Germany’s parliament is set to agree a controversial law for a phase-out of fossil fuel-powered boilers on Friday (8 September). The vote will provisionally conclude “one of the greatest domestic political dramas in recent German history”, wrote Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, adding that no single law has stirred emotions as much as the new rules for transitioning away from climate-damaging heating with oil and gas. The three parties forming Germany’s government coalition, the Social Democrats (SPD), Greens, and Free Democrat Party (FDP), left a compromise painstakingly reached two months ago unchanged to avoid further conflict on the issue, wrote the newspaper. Passage of the law is considered certain given the coalition’s majority in parliament. The vote is scheduled for Friday afternoon. However, the agenda of the session must still be officially agreed (on 5 September).

Buildings are directly responsible for around 15 percent of Germany’s CO2 output  but were neglected for years in the country’s landmark energy transition. The draft law for the switch to climate-neutral heating triggered a fierce debate within the government and in public, with critics arguing that the investment costs for climate-friendly solutions like heat pumps will overburden homeowners and tenants. Fossil fuel-powered heating systems are still the norm in the country’s homes, with over 80 percent of Germany’s heating demand being supplied by fossil fuel energy. Energy-efficient retrofit rates remain low, meaning the sector is off target in the country’s drive to reach climate neutrality by 2045.

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