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Technician with heat pump: Electricity costs should be affordable

Photo: Bernd Weißbrod / dpa

The debate about the Heating Act has unsettled many consumers and significantly slowed down the heat pump boom. Associations and experts are now discussing how the heating transition can be advanced. The German Energy Agency (Dena) has brought a heat pump electricity price into play.

"The price ratio of heat pump electricity to gas is a decisive factor for the attractiveness of heat pumps and thus for the market ramp-up," Dena Managing Director Kristina Haverkamp told the newspapers of the Funke Media Group. In order to accelerate the ramp-up, "temporary price-lowering factors for the price of heat pump electricity should therefore be considered".

Haverkamp also called for uniform minimum distances throughout Germany. "From our point of view, it makes sense to deal with this issue in the Conference of Building Ministers and to adopt a nationwide regulation on the minimum distance for the installation of heat pumps," she said to the address of Construction Minister Klara Geywitz (SPD). This ensures nationwide planning and legal certainty.

On Tuesday evening, representatives of the skilled trades and the heating industry will meet at the Federal Ministry of Economics for a heat pump summit. The format is taking place once again – the first such meeting took place in June last year. At the second summit in November last year, Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) said that the goal of installing half a million devices per year from 2024 was "feasible".

Consumer advocates had declared on Monday with a view to the new summit that the government must ensure "sufficient financial support so that low-income households can also bear the investment costs for a heat pump".

The industry sees itself prepared

Associations report that funding applications have plummeted this year. According to the German Heat Pump Association, applications for state subsidies fell by more than 70 percent in the first eight months of this year compared to the same period last year.

The Bundestag has passed a reform of the Building Energy Act, also known as the Heating Act. It aims to gradually replace oil and gas heating systems, thus making heating less harmful to the climate. From 2024 onwards, the state will cover up to 70 percent of the costs of climate-friendly heating under certain conditions.

The heat pump industry has invested heavily in the expansion of production and training capacities and is in a position to install the agreed 500,000 heat pumps in the coming year, said Martin Sabel, Managing Director of the Federal Association. However, if the federal government does not take any measures to counteract the decline in demand, its expansion target will become a distant prospect.

According to forecasts, sales of heat pumps are expected to rise to up to 350,000 units this year. This is a result of the very good demand from the past year and the expanded production capacities of the manufacturers. Demand must be revived. The German government's goal is to have six million heat pumps by 2030. According to the association's forecast, there will be just over two million by the end of 2023.