Maike Biert, a resident of Germany, was forced to choose a heating system for her home. Although she wanted to install an environmentally friendly heat pump, the high cost led her to opt for a cheaper but less environmentally friendly gas boiler. This choice clashes with the German Greens’ promise to bring about a green heating revolution. The government introduced a bill to reduce the use of gas boilers, but after intense debate, the requirement for a minimum of 65% renewable energy was dropped. The stricter rules for private individuals will not come into force before 2028. This controversy reflects the difficulties of the energy transition in Germany, Europe’s largest economy.
Maike considered more sustainable options, such as heat pumps or hybrid solutions, but high installation costs, ranging from €40,000 to €100,000, put her off. Critics point to the high costs of the heating systems, and the Bild newspaper has launched a campaign against them. Proponents of the measure highlight the government’s financial support and the need to act quickly to achieve climate targets.
The controversy has generated concern and divisions within the ruling coalition and has boosted the popularity of the far-right Alternative for Germany party. Climate activists believe that the compromise reached by the government lacks substance and has generated uncertainty among consumers, leading to a decline in demand for heat pumps.
In short, Maike Biert’s choice to opt for a gas boiler instead of a heat pump reflects the challenges and controversies surrounding the energy transition in Germany, where high costs and a lack of clarity on financial support are causing divisions and concern among both the public and the political class.