Robert Habeck wants to save his heating law with compromises. © Kay Nietfeld/dpa
Robert Habeck wants to save his controversial heating law with compromises. Before the conversation, there are new quarrels between the traffic light partners.
Berlin – In the debate about the controversial heating law, Robert Habeck (Greens) wants to take a step towards the coalition partners. Today, Tuesday (30 May), Habeck will meet with members of parliament from the SPD, Greens and FDP to explore improvements to the Building Energy Act. Habeck had previously stressed that he hoped that the discussion would now take "a constructive, solution-oriented" direction. Even before it comes to the conversation, FDP Vice-President Wolfgang Kubicki renews his criticism of the heating law.
Habeck wants to save his law – FDP stands in the way, Greens accuse "blockade"
Kubicki fundamentally questioned the Building Energy Act. "It is no secret that the Free Democrats prefer a solution that is primarily based on emissions trading," Kubicki told the Funke newspapers. Kubicki added, "but we remain open to constructive proposals that are socially acceptable and do not cause people to be overwhelmed." Kubicki called on Habeck to answer in writing the questionnaire submitted by the FDP parliamentary group on the Heating Act. The answers would then have to be evaluated by the FDP parliamentary group.
Green parliamentary group leader Katharina Dröge warned the FDP against continuing to block the law. "The FDP parliamentary group should now clear the way so that we can finally enter into a proper parliamentary procedure for the law," Dröge told the newspapers of the Funke media group.
Compromise on heating law: change of start time and "district heating offensive"
Habeck's legislative plans aim to ensure that from the beginning of 2024, every newly installed heating system must be powered by at least 65 percent green energy. If possible, the rules should pass through parliament before the summer break. After several criticisms, Habeck has named areas in the heating plan where there is "obviously a need for improvement".
So there could be room for manoeuvre on the launch date. Instead of applying equally to all buildings from 1 January 2024, the start could initially only apply to new buildings. More time could be allowed for the old building stock. There is also probably more freedom in the approved heating systems, for example in the further use of wood or wood pellets. Especially with regard to the cities, where the development is narrow, Habeck wants to give greater importance to district heating and spoke of a "district heating offensive". For difficult constellations, Habeck wants to expand subsidies and exemptions from the obligation to switch to heating and be "more generous".
Energy experts criticise heating law and warn of rush for new oil and gas heating systems
The fact that there is a need for improvement was also confirmed by energy experts. The head of the energy association BDEW, Kerstin Andreae, criticized the fact that the conversation with the practitioners was not sought at an early stage. Above all, the infrastructure had been given too little thought in the previous planning, she told the Süddeutsche Zeitung. She called for a "substantial improvement" of the draft.
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The Association of German Cities considers the expansion and conversion of municipal heating networks to be necessary. "It is good that Minister Habeck is now talking about a district heating offensive. To achieve this, the planned funding programmes will have to be adjusted once again," said Chief Executive Helmut Dedy of the Rheinische Post. In view of the high figures, the CDU/CSU energy expert Andreas Jung warns of a rush for new oil and gas heating systems if there is further uncertainty about the reform of the Building Energy Act. Habeck has to get to the foundations of his heating plans, "just turning a few screws of the heating design is not enough."
Heating law causes traffic light dispute – majority calls for Scholz's word of power, Kühnert praises chancellor
The discussion about Habeck's heating law also met with dissatisfaction among many citizens, as can be seen in the survey results. In the Sunday trend, which the research institute Insa collects weekly for the Bild am Sonntag, the party reaches only 13 percent. 63 percent of those surveyed were of the opinion that Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SP) should put his foot down in the dispute between the traffic light coalition.
SPD General Secretary Kevin Kühnert, on the other hand, defended the chancellor's leadership style. "Good modern leadership is not about being the loudest Maxe," Kühnert said on Tuesday (May 30, 2023) on ZDF's morning show. If a head of government only bangs on the table to show what a great stallion he is, then that is pseudo-strength. "It is always better if a way is found together in the parliamentary process." The time has not yet come for the chancellor to put his foot down, Kühnert said. (bohy/dpa)