Aug 17: Germany launches funding for innovative pilot heat networks

August 2017

The start of July saw a new funding program launched in Germany that will support the planning and construction of highly innovative multivalent heat networks. The program aims to incentivize larger pilot projects that form a bridge between energy research and real-world practice, and thus pave the way for wider market entry. The aim is to provide environmentally friendly heat from a large share of renewable sources and waste heat through district networks as cheaply as conventional fossil-based systems.

Heat networks that operate at temperatures of 20 to 95 °C have a number of advantages over conventional systems. These typically include utilizing high shares of heat from renewable sources and waste heat, providing large-scale seasonal heat storage, improving flexibility in the electricity grid, and delivering efficient district-scale solutions for heating and cooling.

At the same time, such systems can deliver heat at competitive prices by employing waste heat sources that were previously unusable, for example at the edge of towns or on neighbouring properties. By connecting cheap industrial waste heat to consumers in industrial-scale pilot projects, the program aims to accelerate the learning curve and generate scale effects in the branch.

Furthermore, the program will support sector coupling by enabling the heating grid to provide flexibility to the electrical grid by combining large-scale heat pumps with large-scale seasonal heat storage, or even other power-to-x solutions.

State Secretary Baake said: "By launching funding for 4th generation heating networks, we are promoting systems that correspond to what we want the future heating infrastructure to look like in the context of the energy transition. In view of the very long investment cycles in this area, this is particularly important when it comes to reaching our 2050 energy-policy targets."

Funding will be provided in two steps: first, for feasibility studies (up to 60 percent / max. EUR 600,000), and second, for the realisation of the system (up to 50 percent of the eligible project costs / max. EUR 15 million). Applications can be submitted to the Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control (BAFA). Additional information can be found on the BAFA website (link below).

If you would like more information about the opportunities for your business in Germany's district heating market, get in touch with Germany Trade & Invest's industry experts, who would be glad to support you. Our incentives team can let you know how your investment project can benefit from public funding.

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