Despite fierce FDP counter-speech: Habeck pushes law on fossil heating

Minister of Economics Habeck cannot be stopped by loud veto calls from the FDP: The draft law for the end of oil and gas heating is therefore ready and coordinated with the Ministry of Construction.

Despite fierce FDP counter-speech: Habeck pushes law on fossil heating

Minister of Economics Habeck cannot be stopped by loud veto calls from the FDP: The draft law for the end of oil and gas heating is therefore ready and coordinated with the Ministry of Construction. Finance Minister Lindner should not like that at all.

Despite resistance from the FDP, the Federal Ministry of Economics and Building are pushing ahead with the planned regulations for more climate-friendly heating systems. The Ministry of Economics announced in the early afternoon that the joint draft law for an obligation to use at least 65 percent renewable energies in new heating systems had been completed. The draft implements the coalition decision from a year ago, after which the obligation for replacement and new buildings should apply from the beginning of 2024.

According to the draft, old gas or oil heaters can continue to be operated. The previous replacement obligation after 30 years remains in place. The project is part of climate protection efforts, especially in the building sector, which recently failed to meet its specifications. At the same time, the ministry stated that there was a hardship rule and that the installation subsidy would be expanded. Finance Minister Christian Lindner had previously announced resistance: the draft had to be completely revised, said the head of the FDP in the "Bild" newspaper. "The draft was well-intentioned in terms of climate policy, but the echo is devastating economically and socially. The plans must therefore be returned to the assembly hall and fundamentally revised. A superficial repair will not be enough."

The switch to heat pumps must now be accelerated, said energy expert Claudia Kemfert from the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW). "It's long overdue that we get conventional heating systems out of homes." Heat pumps are much more efficient. According to the Federal Association of the German Heating Industry, almost one million heaters were newly installed in 2022. 236,000 of these were heat pumps, which corresponds to an increase of 53 percent. However, two thirds of all heaters sold would continue to be operated with gas or oil. The rate of 65 percent effectively means that conventional gas and oil heating systems are out. The new heating standard is to be the heat pump, the installation of which is subsidized with more than a third of the investment costs. According to agreements with industry and trade, at least 500,000 pumps are to be installed every year.

According to the Ministry of Economic Affairs, the aim is to expand the aid and, above all, to give poorer households more support. The sharp increase in oil and gas prices will also provide additional incentives for exchange. "The bottom line is that heating with renewable energies will not become more expensive than with fossil fuel combustion heating systems thanks to a combination of heating subsidies and reduced heat pump electricity tariffs," explained the economics department. On the contrary, it can be assumed that heating will become cheaper than with fossil fuels.

Buildings connected to a district heating network do not have to meet the 65 percent rule directly. Since these networks must have a share of renewables of at least 50 percent by 2030, this is not the case. Pure electricity heating is also possible if the building is very well insulated. Biomass or gas heating systems can also be used for existing buildings. The latter must be able to be operated with at least 65 percent biomethane.

All types of heating must be completely converted to climate-neutral fuels or completely to green electricity by 2045. Germany then wants to be climate-neutral overall, i.e. no longer produce any greenhouse gases. Almost half of the 41 million households currently heat with natural gas. Heating oil warms 25 percent of the apartments and district heating a good 14 percent. Around 750,000 heaters in existing buildings are replaced every year, a third of them due to defects.

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