31 Mar 2022, 13:47
Kerstine Appunn

More district heating, more investment incentives needed for German heat transition - Vattenfall

In a 12-point plan for a heat transition in Germany, utility Vattenfall has proposed to expand city heating networks and convert them to climate-neutral fuels. To achieve this, Vattenfall is calling for a rapid roll-out of federal subsidies for efficient heating networks. "The programme needs to run until 2030 and be funded with at least 2.5 billion euros per year,” it said in a press release. The utility also suggested using waste heat – for example from data centres, waste water or industrial processes – more consistently for heat generation. In the medium term, geothermal energy should become an important pillar of the heat transition. To trigger more investment in climate friendly heating systems in people’s homes, Vattenfall proposes a reform that allows factoring in the rising fossil fuel costs when investing in future heating systems.

Russia’s war against Ukraine and the ensuing energy crisis, as well as Germany's goal of becoming climate neutral by 2045 have made a switch to renewable energy sources in the heating sector a priority for Europe's largest economy. In 2021, the buildings sector missed its prescribed climate target. As of 2024, every new heating system has to be operated on 65 percent renewable energies if possible, the government coalition decided recently. As the majority of homes are still heated with fossil fuels, installing electric heat pumps and connecting houses to district heating networks are part of the effort to become climate neutral and cut dependence on Russian fossil fuels.

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