Germany brings forward publication deadline for climate-friendly municipal heating plans
Spiegel / Clean Energy Wire
Local authorities across Germany may have to submit plans detailing how they are going to transition to climate-neutral heating systems in their jurisdictions six months earlier than originally planned, according to a building ministry draft law seen by Spiegel. Cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants may have to submit their plans by mid-2026, while other municipalities would have until 30 June, 2028. The heating plans will allow households to find out whether they will be connected to a heating network such as district heating or if they will have to transition to a different type of climate-friendly technology. Homeowners will not be obliged to switch to renewable heating systems until the plans are made public. As a result, there are concerns municipalities might delay publication as long as possible, as the plans might require residents to switch heating systems, which could be difficult to sell to voters, Spiegel writes. Still, Rolf Bösinger, building ministry state secretary, said pressure on local authorities “will increase if energy costs for their citizens rise.” Germany’s federal government plans to support municipalities financially to prepare the plans, according to the draft.
The draft law on municipal heating, which was sent to the federal states on 21 July, is closely linked to Germany’s Buildings Energy Act. This would impose a de facto ban on the installation of new oil and gas boilers. Under the municipal heating act, it is the operators of heating networks - and not individual households - which would have to ensure the conversion of the heat supply to renewable energy. Germany wants to connect 100,000 buildings to district heating annually to bring the sector closer to its climate targets. The use of fossil fuel-run heating systems will be banned entirely from 2045, the year in which Germany aims to have made its economy entirely climate neutral. Heating buildings accounts for around 15 percent of the country’s CO2 emissions.