Dispute over gas and oil heating: is the scrapping bonus coming?

Status: 03/24/2023 5:05 p.m

The traffic light coalition has been arguing for days about the planned ban on new gas and oil heating systems. Now there should obviously be first compromises. Accordingly, scrapping bonuses for old boilers are under discussion.

In the dispute over gas and oil heating, the federal government is discussing a so-called scrapping premium. “We’re open to that at first, we think it’s positive,” said a spokeswoman for the SPD-led Federal Ministry of Building. So far, however, it is only a contribution to the discussion.

The “Spiegel” had previously reported about it. Accordingly, a “scrapping bonus for old boilers” is under discussion, similar to what happened with cars after the 2009 financial crisis.

Low-income households should benefit

According to “Spiegel” information, the scrapping bonus is to be financed from the climate and transformation fund, into which the state’s proceeds from emissions trading, among other things, flow. Above all, households with lower or middle incomes should benefit from this. Favorable loans for the purchase of a heat pump are provided for apartment and house owners, especially those with higher incomes.

According to “Spiegel”, there should also be relief for tenants who are affected by the replacement of the heating in their house. If the heating breaks down, the apartment owner can now only pass these costs on to the tenants to a lesser extent by means of a modernization levy, it said, citing information from government circles.

Government spokesman: Proposal “would be new”

However, government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit said that such a proposal “would be new to me”. A spokesman for Economics Minister Robert Habeck said that this term “was not brought into the discussion by our House”.

The coalition is currently fiercely arguing about the new regulations for building heating systems. A joint draft bill by the Ministry of Construction and the Ministry of Economics stipulates that from 2024 oil and gas heating may no longer be installed in new buildings.

All newly installed heating systems must generate at least 65 percent of their heat from renewable energy sources. According to experts, this is not feasible with oil and gas systems, but only with alternative systems such as heat pumps or by connecting to district heating.

Habeck: In fact, there is already a scrappage bonus

The draft bill caused criticism within the coalition. The FDP goes the project too far. The issue is likely to be negotiated in the coalition committee on Sunday. According to “Spiegel” there is also movement on this issue. For example, heating systems that run on biomethane or green hydrogen could also be approved in new buildings.

On the sidelines of a trip to Copenhagen, when asked whether a scrapping bonus for old boilers was conceivable, Habeck replied that such a bonus already existed. He referred to the existing subsidy, which subsidizes the installation of a heat pump or replacement with up to 40 percent of the investment costs. However, this is not yet specific and sufficient enough for the future, because it is a flat-rate payment that is independent of income.

Union had already brought the scrapping premium into play

According to the “Spiegel” report, it is also being considered that apartment and house owners with higher incomes could get cheap loans for the purchase of a heat pump. In addition, it should remain the case that you can write off 20 percent of the investment from income tax, which is a financially interesting option, especially for high earners.

The Union had previously brought a scrapping premium into play. Last Monday, the head of the CSU state group, Alexander Dobrindt, called for a climate bonus for replacing old heaters amounting to 80 percent of the costs in the “Bild” newspaper. In addition, there must be a “scrapping bonus for energy guzzlers”. “Incentives are needed instead of bans to convince people that climate protection also makes economic sense,” Dobrindt told the “Bild”. The deputy CDU chairman Andreas Jung said that the heat transition could only succeed “with support and demands”, “with prohibitions and regulations it hits a wall”.

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