31 May 2023, 13:20
Benjamin Wehrmann

Municipal heating law reform takes important step forward in German govt coalition negotiations

dpa / n-tv

The German government coalition has agreed on a draft law for reforming municipal heating regulation as part of a wider package to decarbonise the country’s heating sector, news agency dpa reports in an article published by news station n-tv. According to the buildings ministry under minister Klara Geywitz from the Social Democrats (SPD), the coalition partner Free Democrats (FDP) has given its consent to deliberate about the draft law for municipal heating networks. The law is supposed to give Germany’s states and municipalities clear rules for implementing a climate neutral heating infrastructure. Large cities will be given time until the end of 2026 to present their decarbonisation plans, while smaller cities get two years more to agree a plan, the report said. Grid operators and industrial companies will be required to provide data on consumption and energy sources. The data is supposed to provide clarity for homeowners about whether their buildings can be connected to district heating networks or if they need to install a heat pump or other systems to comply with decarbonisation plans.

Germany’s government coalition – formed by the Social Democrats (SPD), the Green Party and the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) – is currently trying to overcome deep divisions on a law which would impose a de-facto ban on the installation of conventional gas and oil boilers from 2024. Heating emissions in Germany have remained stubbornly high in recent years, and the gas supply crisis in 2022 added further urgency to addressing decarbonisation in the sector. Different technologies and solutions will be required to make heating climate neutral, depending on the prevailing conditions in a given region, a report by Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE) found last year. An analysis by the government-supported energy transition research project Ariadne found that district heating networks should be planned more efficiently in the long term and operators need better financial incentives to convert the infrastructure.

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