Germany needs to invest heavily to reach carbon-neutral heating by 2035 – report

Solar thermal collectors, CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

March 2 (Renewables Now) - This is an article by the Clean Energy Wire. It is being republished by Renewables Now under a CC BY 4.0 licence.

In view of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and its impact on the security of Germany’s energy supply, the Wuppertal Institute sustainability research think tank is calling for increased subsidies and legal measures to completely switch the heating supply for the country’s buildings to renewable energy sources by 2035.

Buildings in Germany account for some 25% of greenhouse gas emissions through their energy consumption. There is therefore an explicit need for action in terms of energy efficiency and renewable energy sources, the Wuppertal Institute states in a new study commissioned by Greenpeace. The move would also make Germany less dependent on imported fossil fuels, it adds. In order to accelerate the switch to renewable energy in the sector, the study calls for an exit law that bans the installation of new oil and gas heating systems from 2024 and the operation of existing systems by 2035. To that end, the study proposes a subsidy programme for 12 million heat pumps and 70 million square metres of solar thermal systems. The oil and gas phase-out would require additional annual investments of EUR 50 billion and EUR 22 billion in state subsidies. This is an investment in the future, the Wuppertal Institute states, adding that by 2035, the investment could save EUR 11.5 billion a year. The measures could not only result in the reduction of 168 million tonnes of CO2 equivalents a year, but also create or secure half a million jobs. A rapid transition is essential in order not to miss Germany’s climate targets, adds Wuppertal Institute scientific director Manfred Fischedick.

In a recent report on climate protection subsidies for the building sector, Environmental Action Germany (DUH) called for an increased focus on the renovation of existing buildings and the introduction of legally mandatory minimum efficiency standards.

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