Will the traffic light coalition quickly agree on the planned heating law? FDP Vice Wolfgang Kubicki has doubts – and calls for comprehensive answers.
FDP Vice Wolfgang Kubicki sees no short-term agreement on the planned heating law. The catalog of questions from the FDP parliamentary group had to 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.”
Kubicki said: “I not only assume that the Federal Ministry of Economics will answer the extensive catalog of questions from the FDP parliamentary group, I also expect the submission of a time perspective when the extensive changes to his own legal text announced by Robert Habeck will be presented.”
Traffic light wants to explore compromise lines
The legislative plans for more climate protection in buildings have caused a lot of discord 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 this Tuesday and explore compromise lines for the Building Energy Act. His new state secretary, Philipp Nimmermann, will also start work after Pentecost.
Habeck 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 set of rules, also known as the Heating Act, should be passed by Parliament.
Start date could be changed
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.
There could now be adjustments 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.
“A huge challenge for the power grid”
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, Andreae 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.
New Secretary of State could set accents
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 have to be adjusted again for this,” said Managing Director Helmut Dedy of the “Rheinische Post”, which appears in Düsseldorf. In addition to individual funding for homeowners, the expansion and conversion of municipal heating networks should also be funded.
In the run-up to the talks, it was difficult to assess the chances of reaching an agreement in the near future. It also remained unclear whether and how the public should be informed today. The new State Secretary Nimmermann could set the tone. The economist succeeds Patrick Graichen, who had to give up the post because of the mixing of official and private matters.