Germany’s coalition government is to push through its controversial heat-pump bill without consulting the German Parliament.
The proposed law is the brain-child of Green Party economy minister Robert Habeck and would mean all German homes would have to be heated by electric heat-pumps, replacing all oil and gas-based systems.
While the move is not being well received by the German public, the governing coalition of socialists, liberals and the Green Party are determined to have it enacted post haste.
Still, their rush to pass the law is now being held up on the grounds that it may prove unconstitutional.
Experts assert that the German Federal Constitutional Court had halted the legislative process earlier this year to encourage comprehensive debate within parliamentary committees.
By fast-tracking the Building Energy Law, known by its German acronym GEG, without such discussions, the German Government risks a second intervention by the Constitutional Court.
The opposition is also fighting back, with Andreas Jung, the energy policy spokesperson for the centre-right Christian Democrat Union (CDU), voicing discontent.
He emphasised the need for genuine and open consultations before passing such a critical piece of legislation. His faction is poised to demand this through a “motion of business order”. Failure to engage in these consultations could lead to the court deeming the entire process flawed.
A crucial sticking point for critics is the mandatory installation of eco-friendly heating systems immediately after the submission of municipal heat plans, even though the fate of district heating networks remains uncertain.
Kai Warnecke, President of the Property Owners’ Association Haus & Grund, lambasted the government’s approach. He stressed that what was needed was not a heat plan but, rather, the actual presence of a viable heat source.
For many citizens, the GEG in its current form is impractical and would be financially crippling.
It is believed that if the law is forced through, it could end up costing German homeowners an estimated €13,000 per installation. That would come as many Germans are already struggling with soaring prices and energy bills.
The concerns are echoed by Andreas Beulich, the head of the Federal Association of Independent Real Estate and Housing Companies, who said he believed that the law simply cannot proceed in its current state. He and other key stakeholders argue that the government’s rush to enact the GEG is ill-conceived and untenable.
As the battle lines are drawn, the fate of the Building Energy Law hangs in the balance.
The government’s attempt to implement the legislation without due process is causing uproar in many areas. It remains to be seen whether the contentious law will see the light of day or face a legal showdown at the hands of the Constitutional Court.