08 May 2023, 13:30
Benjamin Wehrmann

Replacing heating systems in Germany’s public buildings expected to cost about 8 bln euros

Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung

Municipalities in Germany expect the government’s plans for decarbonising the heating sector to cost them at least eight billion euros. The plans foresee the replacement of fossil fuel-run heating systems in public buildings by 2045. This would entail additional costs of about 60,000 euros for each replaced system, the head of the German Association of Towns and Municipalities (DStGB), Gerd Landsberg, told the newspaper Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung. Replacements of fossil fuel-based systems will become necessary in about 135,000 of roughly 180,000 public buildings, for which the municipalities will need financial support, Landsberg said. The government plans to make a share of 65 percent renewable energy mandatory whenever new heating systems are installed from 2024, and allow transition periods for existing systems that can no longer be repaired. If the plans are fully implemented, about 7,000 heating systems in public buildings would have to be replaced every year. Moreover, many buildings that are older than 45 years will also need energy-efficient modernisation. While these investments will likely pay off over the long run, the need for annual investments remains enormous, Landsberg said.

The planned changes to the heating sector are highly controversial in Germany, with many people fearing they cannot afford a replacement of their fossil fuel-based systems. Green Party economy and climate action minister Robert Habeck, whose ministry tabled the proposed law, said the difficult decisions his government must now take are the result of years of negligence in the sector regarding decarbonisation. Controversial topics were shunned by previous governments “for fear of polls and losing elections,” Habeck argued.

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