Ban on oil and gas heating: Prime Minister Weil calls Habeck’s plans unrealistic

Lower Saxony’s Prime Minister Stephan Weil has criticized Federal Economics Minister Robert Habeck’s plans to ban oil and gas heating. The time planning is not realistic and in the end does more harm than good, said the SPD politician of the “Bild am Sonntag”. “People are now ordering new gas and oil heating systems in a panic. And many problems have not been resolved: Are there enough installers? What about the people who cannot afford a heat pump?”

He expects Habeck to urgently meet with the construction and housing industry, heating engineers and the energy industry and check by when which goal can be achieved, Weil demanded. “We need longer and therefore more realistic transition periods when converting the heating system.”

An installation ban from 2024 is unrealistic. Weil spoke out in favor of linking state aid for retrofitting heating systems to the level of income: “We should not subsidize the purchase of every heat pump with a fixed amount, but stagger the state aid depending on the level of income.”

When converting the heating system, we need longer and therefore more realistic transition periods.

Stephan Weil, Prime Minister of Lower Saxony

The background is the discussion about a draft law that provides for stricter rules for the installation of new heating systems from 2024. According to an agreement reached by the traffic light coalition in spring 2022, from 2024 onwards every newly installed heating system should be operated with 65 percent renewable energy. This could amount to a de facto ban on new combustion heaters.

Many important details have not yet been determined

Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) has promised an aid program. However, the details of the transition and operating periods that are important for many owners and tenants have not yet been determined. There is also resistance from the coalition partner FDP to a first draft law from the economics and construction ministries. Industry experts had warned against an overly research approach. Politics must be based on the realities of the market.

The Parliamentary State Secretary in the Ministry of Economics, Stefan Wenzel (Greens), warned against panic buying. “Simply sticking to oil and gas for as long as possible can be significantly more expensive in the long term than switching to climate-friendly heating in the next few years,” he told Zeit Online. “Therefore, you shouldn’t make a rushed decision to have another oil or gas heating system installed while it’s still possible.”

With a view to additional support measures, Wenzel said: “We also have to create incentives for landlords, for example.” Energy-saving renovation measures for owner-occupiers could already receive tax incentives today: “This approach could be extended to landlords and businesses.”

Inauguration of an LNG terminal in Wilhelmshafen – Federal Economics Minister Robert Habeck is on Chancellor Scholz’s right and Prime Minister Stephan Weil is on his left.
© Imago/Frank Ossenbrink

From the point of view of FDP parliamentary group leader Christian Dürr, the concept of an income orientation of the planned aid for the installation of new heating systems has not been sufficiently thought through. “I’m concerned that such a support regime will be unfair,” Dürr told Mediengruppe Bayern: “We shouldn’t ban any technologies for heating, we should only make specifications for CO2 neutrality. There may soon be gas heaters that can be operated with hydrogen.”

According to the head of the network agency, Klaus Müller, the time for gas heating is running out. Heat pumps are the most important alternative. However, there is concern that power grids may not be ready for this. Müller emphasized in the “Rheinische Post” that the aim was to prevent overload problems in the local power grid.

“And it is very clear that consumers must not be disconnected.” Only if local grid operators cannot otherwise avert a threat to grid stability could they temporarily dim the power. Heat pumps and charging stations should not be switched off completely, said Müller. (dpa)

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Source: Tagesspiegel

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