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12 September 2017

German house owners prefer natural gas for heating

According to German media, more households of the country choose gas as a source for house heating. According to the Federal Union of Energy and Water Resources, in 2016 about 50% of households received thermal energy from natural gas, and further 25% from oil products. In 2015, according to the Federal Ministry of Economy, the share of gas in heating reached only 21.1%while oil products heating had 33.8% share.

The reason for the popularity of gas heating in Germany is in its low price. Over the past five years, the wholesale price of gas in spot markets declined by 36%, and fell at the German border by 45%. Although only one-third of this decline has reached the end user, retail gas prices in the last four years have decreased by 16%, reaching the 12-year minimum in 2017.

Neighboring Austria experiences a similar situation. According to a study performed by the Austrian Energy Agency, natural gas remains the cheapest fuel for heating in winter 2016-2017, same as in the previous heating season. All other fuels became more expensive since 2016.

As reported by the media, modern gas boilers have reached almost 100% efficiency. In their production of thermal energy, CO2 emissions are only 250 g / kWh, which is 12% lower than with oil products. Moreover, gas-fired boilers are relatively cheap: heating equipment costs per household are around 4000-8000 euros for gas installations, while oil equipment costs reach 9,000 euros, and installing alternative types of heating (heat pumps, fuel cells, etc.) can cost up to 9000-20000 euros.

The market potential is huge: of 19.1 million gas and oil boilers in the country, 2.2 million units are over 26 years old, and 7 million units are over 17 years old. And many customers vote with their money by choosing gas-fired installations as new equipment.

The results of the annual poll conducted by the Forsa Institute and published in June 2017 show that 29% of owners of houses and apartments will give preference to gas boilers as a new heating system. A further 25% of respondents prefer gas heating in conjunction with solar or geothermal energy. At the same time, 58% of respondents believe that natural gas should complement the use of alternative energy sources.

Beside the commercial appeal, modern gas heating units fully meet the ambitious climate targets set in German National Climate Protection Plan. According to the Federal Union of Energy and Water Resources assessment, just replacing the heating equipment older than 15-20 years with modern gas boilers will achieve two thirds of the 2030 goal of CO2 emissions reduction in the municipal sector.

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