01 Mar 2023, 13:52
Benjamin Wehrmann

Planned ban on new gas and oil heating sparks dispute within German govt coalition

dpa / BR / Süddeutsche Zeitung

The draft legislation to introduce a de-facto ban on new gas and oil heating systems in Germany starting in 2024 has sparked a dispute within the government coalition and with opposition parties, news agency dpa reports in an article carried by public broadcaster BR. The economy ministry (BMWK) is preparing the step in a draft as part of a promise from the coalition agreement between the Green Party, the Social Democrats (SPD) and the Free Democrats (FDP) to only install new heating systems with a renewable energy share of at least 65 percent in buildings “wherever possible.” However, some experts have said that this amounts to a "de-facto ban" of oil and gas heating systems, which the FDP now criticised. FDP energy politician Michael Kruse called the plans a “wrecking orgy” for fossil heating systems that made no sense ecologically or economically, the Süddeutsche Zeitung reported. Tenants and landlords should not face “disproportionate costs” to fulfil the government’s plans for reforming the heating sector, he argued.

Initially, the target year for making renewables-based heating systems the new norm had been 2025, but the government pulled the target forward in response to the energy crisis. The aim to install mostly heat pumps, district heating, bioenergy and other non-fossil solutions by 2024 is part of the Building Energy Act. If an existing fossil heating system needs to be replaced, there will be a grace period of three years to replace it with a similar system before the mandatory renewables share is applied also for replacements. The use of fossil heating systems will be banned completely by 2045, the year in which Germany aims to have made its economy entirely climate neutral, according to the draft law.

Economy and climate action minister Robert Habeck (Green Party) said the government should support households ready to change their heating systems financially if necessary. 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. 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 increased energy efficiency, would therefore guarantee security of supply, align with climate targets and help to keep heating affordable, according to the ministry.

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