“Unfeasible”: FDP does not agree with the content of the Heat Planning Act

FDP does not agree with the content of the Heat Planning Act

A law initiated by Federal Building Minister Geywitz obliges states and municipalities to submit plans for a climate-neutral heating infrastructure. At first it seemed as if the FDP was on board with the project, but now the Ministry of Finance is expressing strong doubts.

FDP ranks have doubts about the agreement in principle for a law on municipal heating planning reported by SPD Federal Building Minister Klara Geywitz. “To be honest, I think that’s a false report. I don’t know that,” said FDP financial politician Frank Schäffler on Welt TV. In terms of content, he sharply criticized the planned law: it was “unworkable”. The Ministry of Finance also expressed further concerns about the Heat Planning Act today. It was agreed that the draft could be sent to the federal states and associations for consultation, officials said. But: “A substantive consent is expressly not associated with this step.” In the ministry of FDP leader Christian Lindner, there are still technical concerns. However, opinions from experts, among others, should be taken into account at an early stage in order to make the law practical and less bureaucratic.

A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Construction had said the previous evening that the previous “dispatch objection” had been lifted within the federal government. This is the start of the consultations with the federal states and associations. Schäffler, on the other hand, emphasized that there was still no cabinet decision. “That means we’re still at the very beginning.”

The Heat Planning Act obliges the federal states and municipalities and is closely linked to the controversial Building Energy Act (GEG). In the coming years, the federal states should present concrete plans on how they want to convert their heating infrastructure to be climate-neutral. For large cities, these heat plans should be ready by the end of 2026, smaller cities should have two years longer. The plans of the municipalities should be an important orientation for citizens, because they will find out whether their house will soon be connected to a district or local heating network – or whether they should convert their heating to a heat pump in the foreseeable future.

It is planned that network operators and industrial companies, among others, will provide data on energy sources and consumption. The Ministry of Finance fears that this will result in a lot of bureaucracy. In addition, it must be clarified what the heat planning will ultimately cost the municipalities, citizens and companies.

FDP: Heat Planning Act is a bureaucratic monster

Schäffler went on to criticize that he considered the law to be just as badly done “as the Building Energy Act, because it is a bureaucracy monster”. The municipalities do not have the personnel capacities to implement it. Criticism also comes from the German Association of Towns and Municipalities. “Municipal interests must be given more consideration in the legislative process,” said the association’s general manager, Gerd Landsberg, of the “Bild” newspaper. Municipalities also need more time to implement them.

It is currently planned that cities with 100,000 or more inhabitants should draw up an inventory by the end of 2026. Cities and districts with fewer than 100,000 inhabitants have until 2028. The SPD MP Bernhard Daldrup, on the other hand, insisted on a speedy conclusion of the legislative process. “We mustn’t waste any time in heat planning,” he explained. “People need planning security for their heating replacement and heat supply.” The law should come into force together with the GEG 2024.

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