There is a lack of skilled workers in the trades: the federal government is planning six million heat pumps by 2030

According to the federal government, the number of heat pumps in Germany should be significantly increased in order to become less dependent on Russian gas for heating.

There is a lack of skilled workers in the trades: the federal government is planning six million heat pumps by 2030

According to the federal government, the number of heat pumps in Germany should be significantly increased in order to become less dependent on Russian gas for heating. It should be six million in eight years. The IG Metall complains that the skilled workers required for this exist, but hardly in the skilled trades.

For a heating transition in buildings, the federal government wants to move away from fossil fuels from Russia and at the same time promote climate protection. In addition, an offensive to install heat pumps as an alternative to oil and gas heating is planned. A major problem, however, is a lack of skilled workers. Economics Minister Robert Habeck said after a virtual "heat pump summit" with companies and associations that the goal was six million heat pumps by 2030. Last year 150,000 heat pumps were installed in Germany. In 2024 it should be 500,000. That is achievable.

According to the ministry, there are currently around one million installed heat pumps in Germany. However, their share of newly installed heating systems in 2021 was just under 17 percent - gas heating systems had a market share of around 70 percent.

The production capacity for heat pumps has been significantly increased, Habeck made clear. "But of course there are also a number of specific problems that need to be solved." Above all, there is the question of skilled workers, from craftsmanship to production. In order to attract more skilled workers, further training would have to be supported more and training tests adapted. There is also more immigration from abroad.

Building Minister Klara Geywitz said that energy-efficient urban redevelopment and cross-building district redevelopment should be co-developed via two funding programs via the state bank KfW. The heat transition must also be affordable. "Heat pumps must also be affordable for those on a tight budget." According to the ministry, interest in heat pumps has risen sharply recently, so that there can already be long delivery times and bottlenecks in installation and grid connections.

Heat pumps draw a large part of the energy for heating from the environment, such as air and groundwater. In order to make the heat usable, they need electricity for the drive and pump. The electricity should come from renewable energies.

IG Metall demanded better working conditions from craft companies so as not to endanger the climate goals of the federal government. "Two thirds of the young, well-trained employees in the skilled trades migrate to other sectors," explained board member Ralf Kutzner. According to IG Metall, the electrical and plumbing, heating and air conditioning trades alone lose over 18,000 skilled workers in each training year, including to industry. A large retention and return campaign is crucial in order to be able to achieve the goal of 500,000 heat pumps per year.

DGB board member Stefan Körzell said: "There would be enough well-trained specialists for a heat pump offensive. But they have turned their backs on the trade due to poor working conditions and pay. We have to win back these specialists for the energy transition, instead of lay people in crash courses lasting several weeks to become henchmen close." The FDP politician Sandra Weeser, chairwoman of the building committee in the Bundestag, said: "Without additional craftsmen, the goal of installing 500,000 heat pumps per year remains a well-intentioned hope."

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