20 Jun 2024, 12:02
Julian Wettengel

German towns should broaden heating plans to include general energy distribution - think tank

Tagesspiegel Background

Municipalities should expand their mandatory planning for future climate-friendly heating to encompass general energy distribution, think tank Agora Energiewende has proposed, according to a report by news service Tagesspiegel Background. The more comprehensive plans should also include the supply of electricity, gas and hydrogen, all of which would ensure that the use of scarce resources could be coordinated better. Such a plan should also lay out how long a gas distribution grid should be utilised. "We need to define the point at which it is no longer economically viable to continue operating a gas network so that it can be shut down accordingly," said director Germany Simon Müller. At present, operators are obliged to continue operating their gas network even if it is no longer economically viable, writes Tagesspiegel. If more households switch to climate-neutral heating and disconnect from the gas supply, the infrastructure costs will have to be passed on to fewer and fewer users, pushing up grid charges. The think tank calls for regulatory changes to introduce a price ceiling for the fees.

As Germany aims to become climate neutral by 2045, fossil fuels, including natural gas, have to be phased out. These fuels are mostly used for heating and in industry. The country aims to largely replace fossil gas applications with those using renewable electricity, but also green hydrogen in some cases. The current obligation to present a heating plan -- for example to tell residents where they can expect district heating to be introduced -- does not include any provisions on how to handle gas distribution networks that are no longer needed. In a report last year, Agora Energiewende said that about 90 percent of the country’s gas distribution network would eventually become obsolete with the move to climate-friendly heating. With a green paper earlier this year, the government kickstarted planning for the gradual decommissioning of the country’s gas distribution network in order to ensure a smooth transition to climate-neutral heating for consumers and operators alike.

All texts created by the Clean Energy Wire are available under a “Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence (CC BY 4.0)” . They can be copied, shared and made publicly accessible by users so long as they give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made.
« previous news next news »


Sören Amelang

Researching a story? Drop CLEW a line or give us a call for background material and contacts.

Get support

+49 30 62858 497

Journalism for the energy transition

Get our Newsletter
Join our Network
Find an interviewee