Giuseppe Sandro Mela.
Pressrelease #N 060 from 13 October 2021
– Share of new dwellings with gas heating down almost by half in 20 years
– Consumers not yet affected by increases in natural gas prices: import prices of natural gas in August 2021 up 177.5% on a year earlier, consumer prices in September up 5.7%
– Households spent an average 150 euros per month on energy according to latest figures
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Wiesbaden – At the beginning of the heating period, the focus is especially on the costs of energy sources used – above all natural gas. The Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) reports that 39% of the total of just under 113,000 new buildings constructed in 2020 were equipped with gas heating. This means that natural gas was the second most important primary energy source after heat pumps.
The trend towards the fossil energy source of natural gas has been on the decline for years. In 2010, the share of new buildings heated by gas was 53%, in 2000 even 74%. Other fossil energy sources used for heating are heating oil and, to a smaller extent, electricity. Today, oil heating is rare in new residential buildings. In 2020, only 0.7% of the new buildings had oil heating, while 20 years earlier it was almost one in five new buildings (20%).
Instead, renewable energy sources are gaining in importance. Heat pumps, which are used for geothermal and environmental thermal energy, were the most important primary energy source in 2020. They were used as an energy source for heating in 46% of new buildings. This means that the proportion of new buildings that used renewable energy sources for heating was more than half (50.5%) for the first time in 2020.
Price increases for energy sources affect especially import prices and producer prices
Even though renewable energy sources are more and more establishing themselves in new buildings, mineral oil, in addition to natural gas, still has some importance in the housing stock. Roughly one quarter of all dwellings are still heated by oil. For these energy sources, price increases at upstream stages in the economic process have been observed for some time. First, CO2 pricing introduced at the beginning of 2021 has an effect and second, various coronavirus effects such as the more rapid recovery of the economy following the first lockdown phase play a role.
For example, import prices of natural gas rose markedly as of March 2021; in August 2021 they were by 177.5% higher than in the same month of the previous year, according to the latest figures. In August 2021, the prices of mineral oil, too, were markedly up (63.6%) year on year, the prices of electricity, which to a small extent is also used for heating, were up by 136.1%.
Marked increases were also recorded most recently for industrial producer prices. Natural gas prices in August 2021 were by 44.2% higher than in the same month a year earlier, with marked differences between the various consumption groups. The prices of heating oil rose by 63.6%. The increase in electricity prices was considerably smaller (+20.4%).
Differences in natural gas and heating oil prices are due to differences in access to the energy market
Consumers are not affected by natural gas price increases to the same extent as upstream stages in the economic process. In September 2021, natural gas prices were up 5.7% on a year earlier, which means that the increase was just slightly higher than that of the overall consumer price index (4.1%). The price increase for natural gas is due not only to the price rises at upstream stages in the economic process , including CO2 pricing, but also to the base effect caused by the temporary reduction of value-added tax rates in the previous year. In September 2021, consumers had to pay roughly 76.5% more for heating oil than a year earlier. Electricity prices were up 2.0% year on year in September 2021. “The different developments of natural gas and electricity on the one hand and of heating oil on the other are due to the difference in access consumers have to the energy market”, said Christoph-Martin Mai, Head of the Consumer Prices Section at the Federal Statistical Office. “Heating oil is purchased at current prices, whereas long-term contracts with energy suppliers are often applied to natural gas and electricity. Price changes in that area are usually made annually and with some lead time.”
Households spent just under 6% of their consumption expenditure on energy
An average household’s expenditure on housing energy, that is among other things, electricity, gas and heating oil, amounted to 150 euros per month in 2019, which is 5.8% of household final consumption expenditure. Expenditure on electricity accounts for the largest proportion of expenditure on housing energy. It averaged 46% (roughly 70 euros per month) in 2019.