22 Jan 2021, 14:07
Sören Amelang

Renewables share in German district heating rises to 17.8%

Clean Energy Wire

The share of renewables in Germany's district heating rose to 17.8 percent last year from 7.8 percent ten years ago, according to the country's utility association BDEW. In total, 126 billion kilowatt hours of heat were generated for long-distance heating in the country last year, thereof 22 billion kWh from renewables. Biomass had a share of 9.4 percent with 11.8 billion kWh, while 9.6 billion kWh were made with biogenic municipal waste (7.6 %), and 1 billion kWh (0.8 %) using geothermal and solar thermal installations.

District heating contributes significantly to the urban heat transition, given that the renewable share in cities' entire heat supply is only in the low single-digit percentage range, BDEW said. "In heat supply, CO2 emissions can be saved by increasingly green district heating," BDEW head Kerstin Andreae said. "Especially in urban regions, there are opportunities for climate action, as there is often a lack of the necessary space to generate renewable heat directly on site."

Heating has taken a back seat to the German energy transition's poster child, the power sector. But a transition towards renewables in the sector is essential to cut emissions and reach climate neutrality. Key to the transition is phasing out fossil-fuelled heating in nearly 22 million buildings. German homes remain fossil energy guzzlers: Nearly two thirds still heat with fossil fuels, and most of them also need to be modernised to lower energy demand.

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