10 Mar 2023, 12:18
Julian Wettengel

Germany edges closer to compromise on decarbonising heating – media

Table.Media / Clean Energy Wire / Spiegel

The German government coalition is edging closer to a compromise in the dispute about a de facto ban on new fossil fuel heating systems from next year, Table.Media reports. A draft of the Building Energy Act, which would regulate that newly installed systems have to be fuelled with at least 65 percent renewables, is now in official coordination between ministries, where changes are still possible, but a fundamental re-write would be “unusual,” the news service writes. Economy minister Robert Habeck had indicated concessions regarding the possible obligation to switch off existing heating systems after 30 years. “Whoever has a gas boiler, an oil boiler, can keep it,” Habeck had said when presenting a paper on the progress of key transformation efforts of the government. “Nobody runs into cellars and tears them out.” He said the government would find “pragmatic solutions” in cases where the switch to a renewables-based system is costly or difficult to make. Poorer households would get more state support than richer ones. “The switch and climate neutrality must not become a social problem,” Habeck said, promising the necessary funding of billions of euros.

The draft legislation has sparked a dispute within the government coalition. MPs from the Free Democrats (FDP) called the plans a “wrecking orgy” for fossil heating systems that made no sense ecologically or economically. In the coalition treaty, the parties said “as of 2025, all new heating systems have to run on 65 percent renewable energy,” but did not explicitly mention a ban on fossil heating systems. The government pulled the target forward to 2024 in response to the energy crisis. Over 80 percent of Germany’s heating demand is met with fossil fuels, which largely need to be imported, according to a BMWK report. Increasing the share of renewable energy in the heating sector, together with improved energy efficiency, would therefore guarantee security of supply, align with climate targets and help to keep heating affordable, according to the ministry.

Spiegel reported that the skilled trades and the heating industry have warned against a hasty ban on new gas and oil heating systems. Industry representatives said that house owners could be incentivised to quickly invest in new gas heating systems before these are banned.

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