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24 Mar 2022, 14:15
Sören Amelang

Ukraine war triggers surge in demand for renewable heating systems

Clean Energy Wire

The Ukraine war has sharply increased demand for renewable heating systems, such as heat pumps, according to manufacturers. "We feel a huge surge in demand for renewable solutions," said Frank Voßloh, who is in charge of heating equipment maker Viessmann's German operations, at a conference in Berlin. Jan Brockmann, who heads Europe's largest heating system manufacturer Bosch Thermotechnik, also told Clean Energy Wire his company had registered a significant increase. "Demand for renewable heating was already strong before the war, but interest has risen further."  

Voßloh said his company had reduced research and development for fossil fuel heating systems to a bare minimum in expectation of an imminent and broad take-off of renewable heating. "Heat pumps, PV systems, batteries – all of these are taking off now," said Voßloh. "I'm not sure what Mr Putin wants to achieve with his war, but he has certainly accelerated the energy transition in the heating sector."

Both companies said they were focusing on simplifying heat pump installations, which currently take about twice as long as conventional systems, and are further complicated by the fact that they require electricians in addition to heating installers. Installation times are a major hurdle in the fast rollout of low-emission heating systems because the industry faces an acute shortage of skilled labour in Germany, where the vast majority of homes still use fossil fuel heating systems and also require insulation to make them fit for a climate-neutral future.

Heating industry association BDH warned that ruling out the use of heating systems burning hydrogen would slow down the race to zero emissions. To achieve the climate targets and the sector’s energy independence requires all available solutions, the lobby group said, adding that betting on heat pumps alone was not enough. Hydrogen heating systems are also more affordable for many households, BDH said.  

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