No power grid expansion: 70 heat pumps from Vonovia remain cold

The announcement by Germany’s largest real estate group, Vonovia, should be to the liking of the current federal government: conventional heating systems are gradually being replaced by heat pumps, according to the recent announcement of the business results. Alone: ​​If there is no electricity, it stays cold. According to a report by the dpa news agency, Vonovia is currently struggling with exactly this situation with 70 installed heat pumps. They have not yet been connected due to the lack of expansion of the power grid.

The company, which owns around 550,000 apartments in Germany, Sweden and Austria and manages 71,000 apartments in Germany, actually has much bigger plans: 6,000 heat pumps are to be installed within five years as part of a special program. In September last year, 115 were installed to heat 671 apartments. Vonovia is also planning to set up photovoltaic systems in order to generate at least part of the energy itself using solar power.

Like all other households, the company relies on the local power grid for the remaining electricity. In view of the massive shift from gas and oil heating systems to heat pumps planned by law, this is facing major challenges. In addition, there is electromobility. As early as January, Federal Network Agency boss Klaus Müller warned in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sunday newspaper that there were fears of overload problems and local power failures in the distribution network, as many new heat pumps and charging stations were still being installed.

The federal government itself expects the current demand for electricity to double from 500 to 1000 terawatt hours by 2045. In just seven years, in 2030, the demand for electricity is expected to increase to 750 terawatt hours. According to experts, an expansion of the low-voltage grid within this short period of time is not only economically unrealistic – it would also be almost impossible to achieve it if it were wanted. With intelligent control in smart grids, it should therefore be possible to control the largest electricity consumers in households.

The so-called EVU ban on heat pump electricity tariffs already exists today. For a lower electricity price, heat pump owners accept that the energy supplier can switch off the system at peak load times. The heat pump can be switched off three times a day for a maximum of two hours at a time using what is known as ripple control technology – a pulse signal that is superimposed on the mains voltage. The time between heating breaks must be at least as long as the blocking time.


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