ZEW Environmental Economist Kathrine von Graevenitz on Minimum Standards for the Replacement of Heating Systems
“In Germany, we have set ourselves the goal to become carbon-neutral by 2045. Every heating system installed from now on would have to run on renewables, otherwise we will not achieve this goal,” says ZEW environmental economist Kathrine von Graevenitz in the latest episode of the ZEWPodcast. The German government’s new energy price relief package requires that every newly installed heating system must be 65 per cent powered by renewable energies from 2024. Can such minimum requirements truly advance the heating transition?
In conversation with podcast host Carola Hesch, von Graevenitz presents her research on the heat transition. Baden-Württemberg served as an example. With the introduction of its Renewable Energy Sources Act (EWärmeG) in the late 2000s, Baden-Württemberg is the only federal state to also oblige owners of existing buildings to cover a certain percentage of their heating demand with renewable energies when replacing the heating system. The team of researchers from ZEW Mannheim and the Leibniz Institute of Ecological Urban and Regional Development (IOER) Dresden conducted an empirical analysis on the effect of the law using nationwide data on applications for state subsidies for renewable heating systems.
“The introduction of the EWärmeG law has led to more renewable heating systems being installed, but not significantly more,” explains Graevenitz. In Baden-Württemberg, on average two additional applications were made per 1,000 eligible buildings. The law had a greater effect especially on municipalities that had very few renewable heating systems before. Von Graevenitz explains this result with a learning effect that takes some time to set in with new technologies.