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Expensive fan heaters exacerbate gas shortages


Letter boxes are flooded with reports of rising gas prices. The reaction of the Germans: Panic buying of fan heaters. The result: more harm than good.

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Gas heating: »In the end it’s cheaper«

Photo: Thomas Trutschel / photothek / IMAGO

Hundreds of thousands of households in Germany are buying fan heaters to prepare for the cold winter in view of rising gas prices.

In the first half of 2022, 600,000 of the electric fan heaters were purchased in Germany, according to the market research company GfK.

But that could end up being more expensive and lead to higher gas consumption than heating with much more efficient gas heaters, according to an analysis by strategy consultants Oliver Wyman.

If fan heaters are used in large numbers, the energy suppliers would have to generate most of the additional electricity in gas-fired power plants, according to the communication from the strategy consultancy.

The fan heaters would increase rather than alleviate the shortage of raw materials.

In the worst case, there was even a threat of local power failures due to grid overload.

The main problem is that fan heaters deliver heat less efficiently than conventional gas heaters, says Jörg Stag, head of the European Energy & Natural Resources Practice and global head of the Energy Utilities department at Oliver Wyman: "Their use is therefore more expensive for households than conventional heating".

In order to generate the same heat, a fan heater needs twice as much gas via the detour of electricity production in gas-fired power plants as thermal baths that burn it directly.

"There's a risk of a vicious circle," says Sdling.

»If we have to use more gas to generate electricity, the amount of gas available in Germany will become even scarcer and the gas price will rise.«

Fan heaters eat electricity

Assuming that 30 to 50 percent of the 20 million German households with a gas heater would use fan heaters to keep their homes warm in winter or at least to compensate for a reduced room temperature: the demand for electricity would then increase by up to 25 percent at peak times, the experts calculate .

At the same time, there would be an additional gas requirement of 2.5 terawatt hours in February alone.

Based on the seasonal average demand, up to 1.3 million households could be heated with gas boilers.

The power consumption of the devices alone causes enormous costs.

If you turn on your 2000 watt fan heater for just four hours a day, you have to reckon with additional costs of up to 180 euros a month compared to gas boilers, the strategy consultants sum up.

"The use of fan heaters therefore makes no sense in terms of energy, economy or politics," says Fritz.

The costs depend on the current electricity and gas contracts of the households.


Source: spiegel

All business articles on 2022-09-27

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