The EU approved the €3 billion eco-modernization of Germany's district heating system Shutterstock

The EU approved the €3 billion eco-modernization of Germany's district heating system

Katerina Belousova

It is expected to install 681 MW of renewable heat capacity per year

The European Commission has approved the €2.98 billion district heating program developed by the German government, which involves the use of RES, waste heat and decarbonization of existing networks.

The program will help the EU achieve its climate change goals, reports EURACTIV.

Such a green heating scheme complies with EU rules, which require state aid to be "necessary and appropriate", as without it new district heating facilities would be based on polluting fossil fuels. Also, such investments could not take place at all due to their large volumes and low incomes.

The program provides state grants until 2028 for new district heating networks operating on at least 75% renewable energy and waste heat, or for projects to decarbonize existing networks.

"Thanks to this measure, Germany will be able to increase the share of renewable energy and waste heat in the heating sector, thereby significantly reducing its emissions," said the EU's head of competition policy, Margrethe Vestager.

The German scheme is expected to support the installation of 681 MW of renewable thermal capacity per year and cover up to 40% of the projects' eligible investment costs.

German lawmakers want to modernize district heating to improve urban heating. After all, due to their dense population, solutions for individual heating become less attractive than what the coalition agreement calls "district solutions".

Each district will be asked to create a heating network in its city, and then provide multi-story buildings.

This approach, modeled in Scandinavia and some other EU countries, is seen as key in the effort to reduce dependence on fossil fuels, particularly those coming from russia.

"Neighborhood-optimized electricity and heating infrastructure approaches offer clear advantages, especially in terms of specific energy costs and degree of self-sufficiency," explained Nicole Pillen, Head of Urban Energy Transition at DENA.

Earlier, EcoPolitic wrote, that Poland plans to improve air quality at the expense of modernization of heating systems.

As EcoPolitic previously reported, in Europe, all municipalities with a population of more than 50,000 inhabitants must develop road maps with decarbonization of heating systems and cooling, in accordance with the draft EU legislation.

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