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Germany’s coalition government has set aside EUR 200 billion for investment in decarbonization and increased energy sovereignty through to 2026. The funds, which will be disbursed over the next four years, will be used to expand electric vehicle infrastructure, hydrogen production, reduced power costs, and renewable energy sources. The move, announced by Federal Minister of Finance Christian Lindner, provides reassurance to concerns that the proposed increase in defense spending might result in lower emission reduction targets. Confirming the plan, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection Robert Habeck noted that more must be done to secure the country’s energy independence in light of the current political situation. "More urgently than ever, we need to invest in our energy sovereignty. And I am glad that we as members of the coalition are pulling in the same direction. Now we must make every effort to become more independent and climate-neutral."
A record sum of four billion euros will be spent in restoring and strengthening moorlands, waterbodies, forests, and soils over the next four years according to Federal Ministry for the Environment Steffi Lemke. The “natural climate protection” plan to strengthen biodiversity and ameliorate the effects of climate change will see a number of measures including landscape renaturation, trees for cities and the protection of federal lands introduced through to 2026. According to Lemke, the measures will strengthen the country’s existing biodiversity while contributing to counteract the effects of climate change. "Only by acting in this way do we have a chance at achieving our climate targets, becoming climate-neutral by 2045 and protecting the natural foundations of life for our children and grandchildren. It's high time we stopped working against nature and instead harness the existing synergies of nature and climate protection."
The electrification of the heating sector could be central to reducing European dependency on Russian gas reports Clean Energy Wire. An internal report produced by S&P Global Commodity Insights concludes that heat humps could provide a viable, low-carbon alternative to gas from Russia in the long term. The energy and commodities information platform argues that 155 billion cubic meters of natural gas could be replaced through a mix of energy savings, green hydrogen, biomethane, electrification, alternative pipelines, liquefied natural gas, and renewable energy. Europe plans to double the use of heat pumps to 10 million over the next five years. Domestic households in Germany are increasingly turning to heat pumps as they upgrade or replace their existing heating systems. Heat pump sales increased by 28 percent to 154,000 units last year according to the Federation of German Heating Industry.
Electricity costs for heat pump operations for a single-family household are almost 40 percent cheaper than natural gas according to energy contract provider Verivox. Gas prices rose around 85 percent between October 2021 and March 2022 the price comparison platform claims, making the installation of a new domestic heat pump system profitable within 10 years. Russia’s ongoing war against Ukraine has made the transition to renewable energy sources a top priority in Germany’s heating sector.
Construction work has begun on a 20 MW heat pump on the Rhine in Mannheim. A local utility in the southern German city of Mannheim is building one of Europe’s largest heat pumps in a trial project to use energy from the Rhine River for heating. From 2023, the facility – being built on the site of the coal-fired Grosskraftwerk Mannheim power plant – is expected to supply heating to 3,500 households and save 10,000 tonnes in carbon emissions annually according to MVV Energie. With thermal capacity of up to 20 MW and an electrical capacity of about 7 MW, the pump will be one of the largest in Europe according to the energy provider. The project is one of five heat pump projects to be built across Germany as part of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action “Large-scale heat pumps in district heating networks” program.