09 Jun 2020, 13:15
Freja Eriksen

Germany's planned renewable heat bonus fails to boost green district heating – utilities

Clean Energy Wire

The "renewable energy heat bonus" in Germany's draft coal exit law fails to include support for climate- friendly sources of heat, such as green hydrogen, biogas, wood biomass and large-scale heat pumps, which could contribute significantly to reducing emissions from the country's district heating networks, say utilities associations BDEW and VKU, and several other organisations. District heating is essential for Germany to reach its climate targets in the buildings sector, particularly in densely populated cities, argue the associations. New and existing facilities and networks should equally be eligible for the bonus, they add.

Germany's emissions in the buildings sector rose slightly in 2019 after they had largely stagnated for almost ten years. Germany must reduce emissions from heating to reach its target of climate neutrality by 2050. Key to the transition is phasing out fossil-fuelled heating in nearly 22 million buildings, most of which also need energy efficient renovation. District heating is mainly powered by natural gas and coal, while waste and renewable energies contribute a smaller share.

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