Germans are criticizing a government plan to ban oil and gas boilers and replace them with heat pumps, arguing it is happening too fast and is going to cost a lot of money.
Germany wants to become net-zero by 2045. To this end, the government recently announced it would ban boilers working with fossil fuels, effectively forcing people to switch to heat pumps as the only green enough option for people with no access to district heating.
The cost of the ban is estimated at over 9 billion euros, or $10 billion, annually until 2028. After that, according to the Scholz government, costs will drop by almost half thanks to a ramp-up in heat pump production and a scale-up of wind and solar capacity.
The government is offering financial help to households, to the tune of 30% of the cost of the switch but Germans appear to not be particularly enticed by that offer.
“People are outraged and furious,” Petra Uertz of the Residential Property Association told the Financial Times. “They can’t understand why it has to happen so quickly.”
“This law affects 66mn Germans . . . and there is enormous disquiet,” according to Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, a senior MP from the liberal Free Democratic Party.
The FDP is one of the three parties in the coalition government led by Olaf Scholz and it is not a fan of the gas boiler ban.
“We shouldn’t be tying it to a particular date come hell or high water, there are things in it that must be changed first,” Strack-Zimmermann told German media, saying the Green Party’s insistence on passing the ban as law before the summer break was absurd.
The Green Party, by the way, is losing popular support faster than snow melts in May. According to the latest figures, as presented by the FT, it is now less popular than the right-wing Alternative for Germany, with a popularity rating of 14%.
What’s more, the ban has triggered a jump in demand for gas boilers: it would only come into effect as of January next year, so if people install boilers before this year’s end, they can keep using them.