Heat transition: heating industry warns of scrapping bonus
Berlin The manufacturers of boilers and heat pumps are warning the federal government against introducing a “scrapping bonus” for old heating systems. “A scrappage premium would trigger a short-term boom, which then flattened out again just as quickly after the premium expired. This is also problematic with a view to the scarce capacities in the trades, ”said Markus Staudt, General Manager of the Federal Association of the German Heating Industry (BDH), the Handelsblatt.
Staudt said: “In general, we see well-financed and long-term support as the better instrument. People need long-term planning security for such high investments.”
In the heating dispute, a scrapping premium is one of the instruments being discussed in the traffic light coalition. The coalition partners have been debating the implementation of the Building Energy Act (GEG) for weeks.
The trigger is a draft of the law that the Federal Ministry of Economics and the Federal Ministry of Building had worked out together. Coalition critics say the law is too inflexible and overwhelms homeowners.
The topic is to be discussed at the highest level in the coalition committee on Sunday. The responsible state secretaries had already met on Wednesday and negotiated solutions. Content details were not known. However, it was said that the hurdles could be overcome. It is quite conceivable to come to a compromise on Sunday. Theoretically, the cabinet decision planned for next Wednesday is still achievable.
Possible end for pure oil and gas heating
From 2024, the GEG is to stipulate a share of renewable energies of at least 65 percent for the operation of new heating systems, which would mean the end of pure oil and gas heating systems.
The SPD, Greens and FDP had agreed on the 65 percent target in their coalition agreement. It should not apply until 2025; However, in view of the energy supply crisis of the past year, the coalition partners agreed to bring the target forward by one year in order to reduce dependence on fossil fuels more quickly.
A few days ago, Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck (Greens) announced additional subsidies worth billions in order to socially cushion the replacement of the heating system. He had promised households with lower and middle incomes that switching to a heat pump from 2024 would not be more expensive for them than a new gas heating system.
FDP parliamentary group leader Christian Dürr had warned Habeck against promises that could not be kept: “I don’t think it’s feasible to push the price of heat pumps down to the level of gas heating,” said the Liberal. A conventional heating system costs about 7000 euros, a heat pump can quickly amount to 20,000 euros. There would also be costs for remodeling. “I have no idea how this should be financed,” says Dürr.
According to information from government circles, social differentiation is particularly important to Habeck when it comes to funding. There are already subsidies of up to 40 percent for switching to heating with renewable energies. However, they are granted regardless of income.
>> Read here: Heat pump instead of oil heating – what property owners have to consider now
In addition, the Ministry of Economics wants to ensure that the funding is not organized according to the first come, first served principle. In the end, everyone should benefit from the funding, according to government circles.
Empty subsidy pots
Most recently, the Federal Ministry of Economics was criticized because it had to temporarily stop federal funding for efficient buildings because the funding pots were empty. This should by no means be repeated. There is talk of financing the aid from the climate and transformation fund, into which the state’s proceeds from emissions trading flow.
Meanwhile, companies that deal with the energy efficiency of buildings warn not to forget the topic of renovations in the debate about new heating systems. “We need an overall concept – and not a one-sided discussion about the topics,” said Henning Ellermann, Managing Director of the German Energy Efficiency Initiative (Deneff). “The battle for affordable heating will not be won in the boiler room alone.”
The EU wants to oblige owners of older houses to put more money into energy renovation. But the negotiations are still ongoing. Which houses in Germany will be specifically affected has not yet been finally clarified.
However, not the majority of the building stock will fall under the new requirements in the short term. Rather, the idea is to proceed step by step and to provide planning security and orientation with lead times.
Thomas Engelke from the Federation of German Consumer Organizations (VZBV) called for the issues of heating replacement and renovation to be considered together in order to avoid bad investments. An example: An old oil or gas heating system is to be replaced by a heat pump, the house has not been renovated. Then the choice may fall on a large, particularly powerful heat pump, which would be oversized after a refurbishment.
>> Read here: All the latest news on the energy crisis in the Newsblog
With the planned so-called minimum efficiency standards, the EU wants to increase the renovation rate in the member countries and reduce energy consumption and thus also CO2 emissions in the building sector. Once the EU legislation is complete, EU member states will have to transpose the plans into national law.
More: New build nightmare – why building in Germany is becoming increasingly difficult