According to the coalition agreement, every newly installed heating system is to operate with at least 65% renewable energy. Against the backdrop of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, the coalition decided on 23 March 2022 that this requirement should apply if possible from 1 January 2024 to every new heating system installed in new or existing buildings. This will make a lasting contribution towards ending dependence on fossil fuels from conflict regions and attaining the climate targets.

In order to implement this requirement, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action has worked with the Federal Ministry for Housing, Urban Development and Building to draw up a concept which is to be discussed with the relevant stakeholders in a public consultation over the coming weeks.

The related restructuring of heat generation entails numerous major challenges – due to the large diversity of buildings, the different situations of the owners, and the impact on tenants. The public consultation is therefore of central importance in order to collect ideas and to give appropriate consideration to different interests when the concept is anchored in the Buildings Energy Act.

The implementation of this important requirement of the coalition agreement is to give a fresh boost to the heat transition. The war in Ukraine and the current energy crisis show clearly how urgently we need a radical shift on the heating market towards renewable heat, not just to mitigate climate change, but also to ensure security of supply and affordable prices for energy for heating.

More than 80% of demand for heat is currently covered by the combustion of oil and gas, most of which is imported. The field of heating for buildings is dominated by natural gas, particularly from Russia. More than 410 terawatt-hours of natural gas was burnt in 2021 to cover demand for heat in buildings. That is more than 40% of all the gas consumed in Germany. Nearly one in two households in Germany use gas for their heating. The rate in newly installed heating systems is actually 70%.

The concept will now be subject to a broad consultation with civil society, including real estate, tenants’, welfare, consumer and environmental associations. The consultation will run for six weeks until 22 August. The Economic Affairs and Housing Ministries will produce a draft law to implement the new requirements on the basis of the outcome.

The joint concept can be found here.