Traffic light coalition seeks a compromise on the heating law

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Status: 05/30/2023 10:58 a.m

Economics Minister Habeck is meeting today with representatives of the three traffic light parties to improve the heating law. There could be changes to the start date and to heaters that will be approved in the future.

The legislative plans for more climate protection in buildings have caused a lot of controversy in the traffic light coalition and beyond in recent weeks. Now the Green Economics Minister is ready to talk about important adjustments. Robert Habeck wants to meet traffic light deputies from the SPD, Greens and FDP today and explore compromise lines for the Building Energy Act. The Green politician had previously emphasized that he hoped that the discussion would now take “a constructive, solution-oriented” direction.

Time is running out to bring the draft law, which was initially blocked by the FDP, to the Bundestag. The next session week starts on June 12th. If possible before the summer break, the law that has become known as the Heating Act should be passed by Parliament.

Economics Minister Habeck has shown himself ready to make improvements to the planned heating law.
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SPD-general secretary Kühnert is optimistic

Green party leader Katharina Dröge warned the FDP against continuing to block the law. “The FDP parliamentary group should now clear the way so that we can finally enter into a proper parliamentary procedure for the law,” Dröge told the newspapers of the Funke media group. “In the negotiations it will be important that all sides are pragmatic and willing to compromise,” she added.

SPD General Secretary Kevin Kühnert expressed optimism in the run-up to the consultation. “It is important that we are through the parliamentary procedure before the parliamentary summer break. That is still possible,” said Kühnert in common morning magazine von ARD and ZDF. That’s why “the knot has to be cut through this week”.

FDP Vice Kubicki: First answer the questionnaire

The deputy FDP chairman Wolfgang Kubicki sees no short-term agreement on the law. The catalog of questions from the FDP parliamentary group must first be answered in writing, Kubicki told the newspapers of the Funke media group. Then the entire group had to evaluate the answers. “Only on this basis can we seriously estimate how quickly further negotiations on the Building Energy Act can proceed.”

He assumes that the Federal Ministry of Economics will answer the catalog of questions from the FDP parliamentary group. In addition, he expects the presentation of a time perspective as to when the extensive changes to his own legal text announced by Habeck will be presented, said Kubicki.

The plans aim that from the beginning of 2024 every newly installed heating system must be operated with at least 65 percent green energy. Alternatively, you can also switch to climate-neutral heat from a heating network. The switch should be socially cushioned, there should be transitional periods and hardship regulations.

Compromise on start date possible

There could now be changes to the start date. Instead of applying to all buildings from January 1, 2024, the beginning could initially only apply to new buildings. More time could be allowed for old buildings.

There is also some leeway with the approved heaters, for example with the further use of wood or wood pellets. Openness to technology is an important requirement of the FDP. Even more importance could now be attached to district heating, especially in the cities where the development is dense.

Last but not least, it is about a more generous design of the subsidy, for example for a heating switch, as well as the exceptions to the obligation to switch. The SPD in particular wants a clear social component here.

According to the federal government, around four million oil and gas heating systems would be affected in the coming year alone. These systems would reach the age of the statutory replacement obligation of 30 years. According to the “Augsburger Allgemeine”, this emerges from a response from the federal government to a letter from the Union faction. However, only part of it actually has to be replaced due to numerous exceptions in the law, the federal government explained.

Several traffic light projects are due to go through parliament before the summer break – but there are disagreements.
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Energy association calls for “substantial improvement”

The head of the energy association BDEW, Kerstin Andreae, called for a “substantial improvement” in the draft. It was a mistake not to seek dialogue with practitioners early on, she told the Süddeutsche Zeitung.

Above all, the infrastructure had not been considered enough in the previous plans. For example, heat pumps are not operated evenly throughout the year, but are particularly strong in winter. This is a huge challenge for the power grid, Andreae warned. It is also unclear to many energy companies what will become of their gas network if less and less gas is consumed.

City council wants heating network funding

At the German Association of Cities, it was said that the expansion and conversion of municipal heating networks must also be promoted. “It’s good that Minister Habeck is now talking about a district heating offensive. The planned subsidy programs will then have to be adjusted again,” said Helmut Dedy, managing director of the “Rheinische Post”. In addition to individual funding for homeowners, the expansion and conversion of municipal heating networks should also be funded.



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