19 Jul 2022, 13:49
Benjamin Wehrmann

“Public consultation” launched to kickstart Germany’s heating sector transition

Clean Energy Wire

The German government has launched a “public consultation” aimed at creating conditions for meeting the goal of a 65-percent renewables share in new heating systems by 2024. The climate and economy ministry (BMWK), together with the construction and housing ministry (BMWSB), has invited stakeholders from the public to share their ideas and concerns regarding the far-reaching policy decision that was made in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, in order to reduce the fossil fuel demand of Germany’s heating sector. “The transformation of the heating sector is laden with huge and many challenges due to the broad variety of different buildings, varying ownership situations and the consequences for tenants,” the ministries said, arguing that the consultation therefore would be of “central importance” to make a shift in the heating sector possible. Advancing decarbonisation in the heating sector has been a key aspect of climate policy in Germany’s coalition treaty, the ministries said, adding that the war in Ukraine and the ensuing European energy crisis has highlighted that climate action is not the only rationale for quickly phasing out fossil fuel in heating, as supply security and affordable prices would also hinge on using less gas or oil.
Energy industry lobby group BDEW said the launch of the public consultation showed that “both ministries have realised that the heating transition can be made a success if a realistic and practicable approach is chosen.” Not prescribing a particular form of renewable heating could create “a new thrust” for the transition that would be backed by the ministries’ decision to bet on a competition-based process that also opens a chance for hydrogen and biomethane to compete. “Given the versatility of buildings in the country, their infrastructure and renovation rate, this is the only way to come up with solutions that fit in individual situations both for the buildings and their owners,” the BDEW said.

Fossil fuels still cover more than 80 percent of Germany’s heating energy demand, most of which is imported, with Russia, until recently, being one of the most important sources for both gas and oil. In 2021, over 40 percent (410 terawatt hours) of the country’s natural gas demand was covered by Russian supplies. The share of renewables in heating currently stands at about 15 percent.

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