Belgium, (Brussels Morning Newspaper) The European Commission has approved Germany’s aid plan worth 2.98 billion euro to support district heating and the green push.
The body pointed out in a statement on Tuesday that the move will help Germany to implement its national energy and climate plan, which will move the EU closer to achieving green objectives.
Margrethe Vestager, European Commissioner for Competition, pointed out that the move “will contribute to greening the district heating sector in Germany, by supporting the construction of more efficient district heating systems and the decarbonisation of existing ones.”
She noted that the scheme will help Germany to use more waste heat and renewable energy for heating, which will lower the country’s greenhouse gas emissions.
“The German aid measure we have approved today will contribute to achieving the EU Green Deal objectives and help Germany meet its environmental targets, while limiting possible distortions of competition,” she concluded.
The EC reminded that Germany submitted its plan in June and added that it will stay in effect until the end of August 2028.
Grants for operators
According to the plan, district heating operators and those not currently offering heating services will be able to apply for aid, which will be provided in the form of grants.
The Commission pointed out that the plan will support transformation plans and feasibility studies for decarbonisation and construction of heating networks.
Under the scheme, operators will be able to apply for aid to construct facilities that use at least 75% of renewable and waste heat, modernise existing systems to make them more environmentally friendly, integrate waste heat into heating systems and more.
“In addition, district heating network operators will be able to receive operating aid for the generation of renewable heat through solar thermal installations and heat pumps,” the EC noted.
The body predicted that the move will help Germany to lower its annual greenhouse gas emissions by roughly 4 million tonnes.
It noted that the scheme is appropriate and necessary for achieving environmental goals, stressing that lower cost of fossil fuels would direct investments away from more expensive renewables in the absence of aid.
The Commission concluded that contribution to the green push outweighs any negative effects the scheme could have on trade and competition.