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EU Commission backs German plan to invest in energy scheme

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The European Commission on Tuesday backed a German plan to invest nearly three billion euros (3.07 billion dollars) in a renewable energy scheme for district heating systems.

The Brussels-based authority approved the scheme as a plan to contribute to greening Germany’s district heating networks, EU Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager said in a statement.

Under the plan, over the next six years, district heating operators can access direct grants to design and construct new systems powered by at least 75 per cent of renewable or waste energy sources.

The financial support also extends to reducing carbon emissions in existing systems as well as sourcing waste heat produced in industrial plants, for example, the commission said.

District heating systems warm buildings by distributing heated water through insulated pipes and can be powered in a variety of ways, including with electricity generation at power plants.

The Germany-wide scheme is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by nearly four million tonnes of CO2.

This is according to the EU executive arm.

“With this measure, Germany will be able to increase the share of renewable energy and waste heat in the heating sector, thereby considerably decreasing its emissions,’’ Vestager said.

The scheme covered the costs of feasibility studies up to 50 per cent, while backing operators constructing new district heating systems up to 40 per cent where plans were eligible for support. (NAN

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