According to Robert Brückmann, head of the Competence Center Municipal Heat Transition (KWW), the heat transition in Germany will be very expensive. “I really think this will be Germany’s largest infrastructure project since the country was rebuilt after World War II,” he told the German Press Agency. And it will “cost a lot of money”. This is one of the reasons why it is important to support the municipalities in redesigning their heat supply in order to create reliability and security. In addition, the municipalities would have a high degree of control over local and regional value creation through their own heat planning.

“In Germany we have around 20 million houses and around 40 million residential units that we have to convert. In order to do this, the municipalities have to think about what that can look like,” said Brückmann. This is where the competence center, which is part of the German Energy Agency (dena), comes into play. It wants to help the approximately 10,700 municipalities in Germany to rethink their heat supply and to draw up a so-called heat plan.

Municipalities in the east generally have an advantage over the west when it comes to the heat transition, says Brückmann. “We already have a great many heating networks here that have been built over the last few decades, and they will be one of the keys to the heat transition.” The KWW is based in Halle.

Heat transition through a mix of energy sources

With heating networks, municipalities could secure the supply after switching the networks to decarbonized heat generation without every homeowner having to convert their heating system, he said. “Moreover, refurbishments in eastern Germany were mostly not that long ago, which is also an important advantage. In the end, however, a mix of energy sources will make the heat transition possible.”

The work of the center, which opened in April 2022, can be imagined as a suitcase, explained Brückmann. “A suitcase that we can make available to individual municipalities. The suitcase does not contain a ready-made concept for decarbonization for every municipality, but options that may or may not come into question under certain conditions.”

The largest part of German energy consumption – around 60 percent – is in the heating sector, but according to the expert too little is said about the decarbonisation of the sector.

The Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection (BMWK) sees the KWW as an important supporter of the municipalities in the energy and heating transition. Also because, from the Ministry’s point of view, the municipalities play an important role in climate protection. “The implementation of climate protection takes place on site,” said the BMWK.