The German Association of Cities is calling for improvements to the plans for replacing the heating system. Managing Director Helmut Dedy told the German Press Agency: “We know that we now have to set the course for a climate-neutral heat supply. But the goals, no matter how right, will come to nothing if craftsmen and suitable heating systems are missing, deadlines are too tight and costs are in skyrocketing and people as a whole are overwhelmed.”

The federal cabinet could decide today on a reform of the building energy law – and at the same time an additional subsidy program for the heating replacement in the billions. From 2024 onwards, according to the plans of the federal government, every newly installed heating system should be operated with 65 percent renewable energies. This is intended to herald the departure from gas and oil heating systems.

The SPD chairman Lars Klingbeil promises extensive payments for property owners and tenants. He told the “Bild” newspaper that climate protection and social justice only go together: “That’s why we’re going to spend a lot of money to promote the switch to heating.”

Funding still unclear

The Union calls for reliable funding for heating conversion. “No one should be overwhelmed by new requirements,” said Union expert Andreas Jung of the Funke media group. On the other hand, the Greens parliamentary group leader in the Bundestag, Julia Verlinden, was confident that a good solution would be developed “to continue to support people in the future with replacing their heating systems and increasing energy efficiency”.

The chairman of the left faction in the Bundestag, Dietmar Bartsch, called the heating law “a chaos number”. He told the editorial network that “the fact that the funding is still unclear is an impertinence to the citizens”.

Dedy said it is important for the cities that the path to a climate-neutral heat supply can be followed with feasible deadlines and a technology mix. “For many residential areas, especially in new buildings, the heat pump is a good option. Our concern is the many millions of existing houses. Because a heat pump currently only works efficiently in well-insulated buildings. And that means old houses need new windows, insulated facades and Roofs, large heating surfaces in the floor or walls and affordable electricity prices. All of this will not be possible everywhere. And certainly not in a short time. We therefore urgently need longer transition periods for the building stock.”

Little potential for green hydrogen

Other solutions are needed for larger buildings such as schools, gymnasiums, hospitals or administration buildings. “Until now, they could hardly be heated with heat pumps,” explained Dedy. “That’s why we need real openness to technology that isn’t just on paper. The heat pump where it can work efficiently, but also developed heating networks, waste heat from industry or geothermal energy.”

The Parliamentary State Secretary in the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Franziska Brantner, sees little potential for green hydrogen in the heating sector. “For heating, where there are heat pumps, geothermal energy and many other alternatives, hydrogen will probably be the most expensive way,” Brantner told the Funke media group. “There has to be clarity, also in the municipalities’ heat planning – if I were mayor, I would not rely on hydrogen in heat planning.” Of course, hydrogen is allowed everywhere.