BERLIN (AP) — The German government sought Wednesday to reassure homeowners that plans to phase out gas or oil heating systems will provide generous transition periods and take into account hardship cases.
Almost a third of the energy consumed in Germany goes toward heating and warm water, prompting the government to draft a bill that would require all new heating systems installed from next year to use at least 65% renewable energy. From 2045, all fossil fuel heatings would be banned as part of Germany’s target to become “climate neutral” by then.
The proposal has drawn criticism from opposition parties who claim it will cost homeowners too much, but Housing Minister Klara Geywitz said the bill won’t force anyone to sell their home because they can’t afford the requirements.
If approved by lawmakers, the bill would provide significant subsidies for those switching to greener heating systems — such as electric heat pumps — and the savings for homeowners who don’t have to buy oil or gas anymore will allow them to more than recoup their investments over time, she said.
Germany’s finance minister, who leads the small pro-business Free Democratic Party, expressed concerns about the cost of the plans and suggested that parliament might need to make last-minute tweaks.