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Reform of the German Buildings Energy Act (Gebäudeenergiegesetz, GEG)

Energy policy is the big topic in the media and in the general public

The Buildings Energy Act (GEG), often called the Heating Act, has been discussed all over the country in the recent weeks. In the act, biogas and biomethane are recognized as a compliance option - an important signal for biogas!
The GEG is a vital instrument within German energy and climate protection policies. Its purpose is to ensure that the targets of the Federal Government’s energy policies are achieved – in particular, a largely climate-neutral inventory of existing buildings by 2045 and around 40 percent savings in final energy consumption compared with 2020. The ordinance defines structural and heating system standards for buildings and specifies the energy efficiency for new builds and the refurbishment of existing buildings.

The Federal Government is now launching a comprehensive push for modernisation with the amendment to the Buildings Energy Act. The aim is also to push ahead with the heating system transformation needed to protect the climate. "We are doing this with a clear and deliberate focus on newly installed heating systems," Robert Habeck, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Action, explained.

As of January 2024, as many newly installed heating systems as possible shall be powered at least 65 percent by renewable energy sources. The legislation provides for generous transition periods and exemptions, substantial social compensation payments, and a comprehensive range of subsidies.

On the way to climate neutrality, the 65 percent target is an important milestone. However, the heating sector also exhibits great heterogeneity in the long term and can vary greatly from building to building or owner to owner. Therefore, building owners should be given as much technical and economic freedom as possible, and the widest possible range of options for climate-neutral building heating should be made available to meet the necessary high level of ambition of the GEG. Bioenergy, which today provides approximately 84 percent of renewable heat, must play an important role in this. However, this was not the case in the first cabinet draft.

The German bioenergy associations have jointly submitted a statement to the current parliamentary procedure demanding the abolition of the obligation to install an additional solar power system and an oversized buffer storage facility as well as the abolition of the prohibition of the use of biogas and wood heaters in new buildings. The associations are pushing for bioenergy and wood energy to be recognized as compliance options and have already had success in a hearing.

All renewable energies are needed to manage the heat transition. An arbitrary exclusion of bioenergy cannot be fruitful in the long term.


About the bioenergy associations

Four associations pool their competencies and resources in the field of energy policy in the Bioenergy Capital Office: German Bioenergy Association, the German Farmers' Association, the German Biogas Association and the German Wood Energy Association. Together they represent the entire bioenergy sector, from farmers and foresters, plant and machine manufacturers, energy suppliers to operators and planners. The Bioenergy Capital Office gives the many different players and various technologies in the bioenergy industry a strong common voice vis-à-vis politicians. Particularly in the electricity and heat sectors, it advocates for the energy policy interests of its member associations across all technologies.

It also strongly cooperates with the German Renewable Energy Federation (BEE).