Tag Archives: high costs

Fritz Vahrenholt: The heat pump disaster

By KlimaNachrichten Redakteur

Dear Sir or Madam,

In March 2023, the deviation of global temperature from the 30-year average of satellite-based measurements by the University of Alabama (UAH) increased slightly to 0.20 degrees Celsius (see graph above). The average temperature increase per decade since 1979 is only 0.13 degrees Celsius.

The heat pump disaster

At first, one had the impression that after the nightly negotiations of the coalition committee on 28.3.2023, the worst had been prevented as far as the planned intervention of the Greens in the boiler room of the Germans was concerned.

But now that the federal government’s draft law has been sent for hearing, it is clear that the Greens have prevailed across the board and the FDP has allowed itself to be ripped off.

It remains the case: From 1.1.2024 an installation of an oil and gas heating is no longer possible.

The possibility granted by the Federal Government to have a new gas heating system installed for three years in the event of an accident/total failure of the heating system is really not an alternative, because who installs a new gas heating system for 3 years and then has it replaced by a heat pump after three years?

“The aim of the law is to make a significant contribution to achieving the national climate protection targets,” it says in §1 of the draft law.

As Prof. Ganteför was able to show in his remarkable video, replacing a gas heating system with a heat pump does not bring any CO2 relief in today’s electricity generation mix. It’s hard to believe.

According to estimates of the draft law, the federal government plans to burden citizens with costs of 45 billion over the next five years and it is a CO2 deceptive package? The electricity mix of the last 12 months had CO2 emissions of 0.517 kg CO2 per kWh. This will be even worse after 15.4.2023, when the last 3 CO2-free nuclear power plants are shut down and have to be replaced by increased coal and gas power use.

The CO2 emission of a gas heater is 0.16 kg per kwh. A heat pump with a usual efficiency of COP = 3 (COP = Coefficient of performance) turns 1 kWh of electricity into 3 kWh of heat.

To compare a natural gas heating system with a heat pump, you have to divide the CO2 footprint of a kWh of electricity by 3. That’s 0.172kg/kWh. At low temperatures in winter, the heat pump can also drop to a COP of 2.5. Then the balance is even worse. At COP 3, the heat pump emits more CO2 than a natural gas heating system and at COP 2.5 even almost as much as an oil heating system. (see chart, all figures from Ganteför, the source of CO2 emissions of the electricity mix is here)

No CO2 savings, but insanely high costs

I am not against the technology of the heat pump. It is a suitable heat supply option for new buildings or for houses with a low heat supply (underfloor heating).

However, this technology must not be imposed on citizens with the argument that it would contribute to CO2 reduction in the foreseeable future. In the draft law of the Federal Government, the burdens on citizens in the next 5 years are compared with savings of a similar amount in the following 18 years.

However, this milkmaid calculation will only work if electricity prices fall and gas prices rise over the next 20 years. If it happens the other way around, the citizen pays massively on it.

Today’s price comparison already shows this. The gas price is 10 €ct/kWh and the electricity price is 40 €ct/kWh. 40 €ct/kWh corresponds to 3 €ct/kWh gas price at COP13. Gas heating is therefore cheaper today than a heat pump. Cost equality arises if you set up your own electricity meter for the heat pump, then the electricity today costs about 30 €ct/kWh.

Where the Federal Government derives a future cost advantage from remains a mystery, because it pursues a policy of electricity shortages. After the shutdown of the nuclear power plants in April 2023, 2024,10 MW of coal-fired power plants are to be taken off the grid in April 000.

In my book “The Great Energy Crisis”, I calculated that the expansion of wind and solar in winter will not help us in a dark doldrums. For this reason, the head of the Federal Network Agency has already declared e-charging stations and heat pump connections to be switched off at any time in order to avoid grid collapses. Putting everything on electricity alone and then shutting down power plant capacity first is one of the most irresponsible decisions of this federal government.

However, if one takes seriously the plans of the Federal Government to build about 20,000 MW of gas-fired power plants by 2030 in order to reduce the risk of blackouts, then an even more pressing question arises as to the meaningfulness of the green energy policy of this Federal Government.

In 2030, around 150 terawatt hours (TWh) of natural gas electricity are to be generated. This corresponds to about 300 TWh of natural gas (with a well-meaning efficiency of 50% in a gas-fired power plant). For comparison:

277 TWh of natural gas will be used in German households to generate heat (2022). The natural gas supply of citizens is to be eliminated on the hypocritical grounds that one makes oneself less dependent on gas imports (energy sovereignty).

At the same time, the German government is planning a major expansion of gas imports of the same size. Who can explain this to the citizen?

But – so it will be objected – the gas-fired power plants are hydrogen-ready!

Here, the Federal Minister of Economics pointed out in his distress to justify an alleged technology neutrality, that one could also use hydrogen heating systems with green or blue hydrogen.

So that nobody gets stupid thoughts, he has questioned this option himself. The hydrogen would not be available so quickly and it would also be 4 times as expensive.

Hardly any journalist has noticed that he has cleared the core of the green climate-neutral energy supply. I have been writing this here in the blog for years that hydrogen will be four times more expensive than natural gas and now the Minister of Economic Affairs confirms en passant that the energy plans of the Federal Government are cloud-shifting.

Habeck: “All possibilities are there, i.e. district heating systems, heating with biogenic fuels, and hydrogen as well, which is not available at the moment. But if you bet on it – four times as more expensive, I guess – please! Being open to technology also means that you can build more expensive heating systems – and, of course, heat pumps.”

By the way: after a change of ownership, the new owner or the heir has to replace the gas heating after 2 years at the latest. The only exception: over 80s are exempt from the obligation to exchange (see inheritance regulation).

Speaking of nuclear power plants. Federal Minister Habeck in Ukraine: “Ukraine will stick to nuclear power. That’s perfectly clear – and that’s okay as long as things run safely. They’re built.” And what is the CDU opposition doing? Spahn calls for a subsidy program for the conversion to heat pumps. We now know how a CDU-led federal government would deal with citizens’ interests.

“The Great Energy Crisis” 

My new book has made it to number 6 on the Spiegel bestseller list non-fiction/paperback. It is still not mentioned at all by the mainstream media. If you would like to purchase a signed copy, please contact Service@parlamentsbuchhandlung.de by e-mail. I have again signed numerous copies there, which are distributed by the parliamentary bookshop. Contact Hans-Peter Lenz 030/22489544

With best wishes
Fritz Vahrenholt